On January 15, 2015, the Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting. This was the first meeting for Commissioner Picker as President, as well as for the newly-appointed Commissioner Randolph. There were no telecommunications items on the regular agenda, but on the consent agenda, the Commission approved the resolution establishing 2015 CHCF-A draws for the Small LECs. In addition, President Picker introduced a proposal to establish Commissioner Subcommittees on finance and administration and on policy governance matters. These and other items of interest are discussed in further detail below.
2015 CHCF-A Funding Approved (Item 10, approved on consent) – This Resolution adopts a total of $32.995 million in California High Cost Fund-A (“CHCF-A”) support for Calendar Year 2015. The funds will be dispersed to the following Small Local Exchange Carriers (“Small LECs”): (1) Calaveras ($2,213,568.35); (2) Cal-Ore ($1,054,196.69); (3) Ducor ($2,367,498.83); (4) Foresthill ($2,469,833.04); (5) Kerman ($3,545,172.58); (6) Pinnacles ($259,100.85); (7) Ponderosa ($3,706,998.34); (8) Sierra ($11,981,317.19); (9) Siskiyou ($2,023,234.88); and (10) Volcano ($3,374,416.10).
A copy of Resolution T-17461 is available at the following link:
Amendments to G.O. 95 (Item 12, approved on consent) – This decision adopts amendments to the Commission’s General Order 95 (“G.O. 95”), which contains rules for the design, construction, and maintenance of overhead power lines and communications lines located outside of buildings. This Decision addresses amendments proposed by the Rules Committee’s petition for a rulemaking to consider adopting 29 proposed amendments to G.O. 95 that would improve safety, enhance reliability, increase efficiency, and correct errors in the general order. The Rules Committee is a group known as the “G.O. 95/128 Rules Committee,” whose membership includes representatives from the telecommunications companies, electric utilities, labor unions, and others. The Rule Committee brings periodic petitions to modify and update G.O. 95, and this Decision is the result of the most recent petition. Pursuant to the petition, a rulemaking was subsequently opened to evaluate 16 of the proposed amendments that appeared to be reasonably formulated to achieve the objectives of higher safety, higher reliability, higher efficiency, and/or correction of errors.
This Decision adopts 16 changes addressing the following rules: (1) minimum clearance of wires above railroads (Rule 37, Table 1); (2) stepping (Rule 51.7); (vertical and lateral conductors and risers (Rule 54.6-E); (4) low voltage racks (Rule 54.9-C); (5) enclosed equipment (Rule 58.1-A(1); (6) miscellaneous equipment, line switches disconnects, operating mechanism (Rule 58.3-D(4); (7) stepping (Rule 81.6); (8) clearances , between conductors (Rule 84.4-C(2); R(9) climbing and working space (Rule 84.7); (10) covering or guarding, risers (Rule 87.7-D) (Rule 87.7-D); (11) climbing space (figure 84-2); (12) climbing space (Figure 84-3); (13) working space (figure 84-4); (14) communication conductors in proximity (Figure 84-5); (15) stepping, location of steps (Rule 91.3-B); (16) poles, towers, and structures (Rule 91.4). Further information regarding these amendments is available in Appendix B of the Decision.
A copy of the final Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:
Executive Director Authorized to Order Disconnections (Item 11, approved on consent) – This Resolution amends Resolution T-15630, which authorizes the Executive Director to order disconnection of phone numbers for unlicensed professionals and vocational practitioners under specified circumstances. Specifically, the Executive Director is authorized to order carriers to disconnect telephone numbers listed in directories by unlicensed professionals and vocational practitioners in response to requests from a specified group of sixteen boards, bureaus, committees, commissions, or programs. These entities are consistent with the Business and Professions Code Section 149. In 2014, Section 149 was revised by the Legislature to expand the list of entities that could request disconnection to include those entities listed under Section 101. In addition, the requirement that the advertising appear in a telephone directory was also removed.
Accordingly, this Resolution: (1) expands the Executive Director’s authority by authorizing the Executive Director to order disconnections upon request of any entity identified under the Business and Professions Code Section 101; (2) deletes the requirement that the advertising appear in a telephone directory; and (3) adopts revisions to the template of the Order to Disconnect.
A copy of Resolution T-17464 is available at the following link:
Statutory Deadline Extended in City of Santa Barbara v. Verizon (Item 23, approved on consent) – This Decision extends the statutory deadline for resolving a dispute between the City of Santa Barbara (“Santa Barbara”) and Verizon California, Inc. (“Verizon”) until January 19, 2015. This dispute involves the interpretation of a tariff governing the undergrounding of existing telephone communications facilities where a city creates a new underground utility district. Santa Barbara filed this complaint on January 19, 2010 and the parties initially agreed to resolve the dispute by filing motions for summary judgment based on a stipulated set of undisputed facts. However, the parties were unable to stipulate to a set of facts. Nevertheless, both parties filed Motions for Summary Judgment and the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) issued a proposed decision based on the Motions. After the proposed decision was issued, Southern California Edison Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company and the City of Santa Monica filed Motions for Party Status. Shortly after, the previously-assigned ALJ Ryerson subsequently retired from state service and the proposed decision was withdrawn from consideration. The statutory deadline was then extended to allow the subsequently-assigned ALJ Roscow the opportunity to review additional material submitted for the record, pending motions for summary judgment, and requests from additional parties to participate in the case.
This Decision finds that a further extension is appropriate because a proposed decision is expected to be issued; however, due to the complexity of the case, additional time is required.
A copy of the final Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:
Black Economic Council, National Asian American Coalition, and Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles’s Request for Intervenor Compensation in the AT&T and T-Mobile Acquisition Proceeding (Item 26, approved on consent) – This Decision grants $42,505.15 in intervenor compensation to the Black Economic Council, National Asian American Coalition, and Latino Chamber of Greater Los Angeles (“Consumer Groups”) for its contribution to D.12-08-025, which dismissed the Commission’s investigation into the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) by AT&T Inc. (“AT&T”).
The investigation was deemed moot by D.12-08-025 based on the withdrawal of the merger application by AT&T and T-Mobile at the FCC. Notwithstanding the dismissal of the investigation, the Decision finds that some of the Joint Consumer’s participation in the investigative proceeding constituted “substantial contribution” and would have produced benefits for ratepayers had the merger application had not been withdrawn. The amount awarded is a reduction of 82.45% from the Consumer Groups’ initial claim of $242,243. The Decision explains that certain claims were denied on the basis that the comments did not directly concern the effect of the merger on competition, were outside of the scope of the investigation, and because some of the Consumer Groups’ contributions were duplicative of other parties.
A copy of the final Decision underlying this item available at the following link:
President Picker introduced his proposal to create Commission Subcommittees on finance and administration and on policy governance matters. President Picker proposes that the Subcommittees meet in public earlier in the week of the regularly-scheduled Commission meeting in order to improve communications between Commissioners, to allow more transparency to public stakeholders, and to develop governance tools.
The proposed Finance and Administration Subcommittee would: (1) offer Commission comments on enterprise risk management activities; (2) provide Commissioner linkage and oversight for strategic planning efforts; (3) review budget and finance issues (including regular overview of public purpose funds); (4) comment on priorities for the internal audit team; (5) conduct personnel reviews for staff with direct Commission reports; and (6) provide for Commission participation in hiring staff with direct Commission reports.
The proposed Policy Governance Subcommittee would: (1) develop a written policy governance framework for the Commission (i.e., purpose, mission, vision, core values, etc.); and (2) provide a forum for reviewing actions and monitoring staff performance with respect to delegations.
A copy of President Picker’s proposal is available at the following link:
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If you have any questions about the above items or the underlying proceedings in which they arose, please do not hesitate to contact us.