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On July 29, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting.  The meeting was packed, with an organized series of public speakers against installation of “smart meters” allowing utilities and consumers to track and control energy usage, for fears of the unknown effects of the radiofrequency radiation signals and electromagnetic fields generated by smart meters.  On the telecommunications front, the Commission modified its procedures governing mass customer migrations from existing competitive local exchange carriers, but deferred consideration of incumbent local exchange carriers voluntary exit guidelines.  These and other telecommunications items of interest on the Commission’s agenda are discussed in further detail below.
 


REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS


  • Broadvox-CLEC, LLC Granted CPCN, and Fined $5,000 (Item 8, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Decision approves a settlement agreement by which the Commission granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to Broadvox-CLEC, LLC (Broadvox) to provide resold and limited facilities-based and resold telecommunications services in the California service territories of AT&T, Verizon California Inc., SureWest Telephone, and Citizens Telecommunications, and interexchange services statewide, and requires Broadvox to pay a $5,000 fine for failure to disclose a previous bankruptcy of an affiliate and regulatory violations by its affiliates.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.  
  • CPUC Modifies Procedures Governing Mass Customer Migrations from Existing CLECs (Item 10, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Decision adopts guidelines and principles for customer migrations, revises the Mass Migration Guidelines first adopted in 2006 in D.06-10-027, and adopts involuntary exit guidelines for Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLEC) applicable to wholesale provider disconnection of service for failure to pay.  There is no Default Carrier requirement adopted for involuntary exits. In addition, the Proposed Decision defers consideration of Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) voluntary exit guidelines until the reverse auction process contemplated in Rulemaking 06-06-028 is resolved.  The Proposed Decision also adopts principles and procedures governing CLEC to CLEC/ILEC end-user migrations to ensure customers can exercise their rights to migrate from one service provider to another without delay or burdensome procedures.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is located here.
  • Order Extending Statutory Deadline in Proceeding Considering Changes to CPUC’s Application of CEQA to Telecommunications Utilities (R.06-10-006) (Item 13, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision extends the statutory deadline for the Commission’s consideration of CEQA reform in R.06-10-006 until October 15, 2010.  In R.06-10-006, the Commission is evaluating changes to the CPUC’s application of CEQA to telecommunications utilities under its jurisdiction.  As part of that inquiry, the Commission intends to develop rules and policies that will:  (1) ensure that CPUC practices comply with current CEQA requirements and policies; (2) promote the development of an advanced telecommunications infrastructure, particularly as it applies to broadband facilities; and (3) ensure that application of CEQA in the telecommunications field does not cause undue harm to competition.  Citing the complexity of the issues in this rulemaking, this Decision extends the current statutory deadline to October 15, 2010.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here
  • Verizon Wireless’s Petition to Review Assessment of Surcharges for Commission’s Public Purpose Programs re: Wireless Services Denied (Item 17, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Decision denies Verizon Wireless’s petition to review the assessment of surcharges for the Commission’s Public Purpose Programs as they applied to wireless services, and closes the related proceeding.  The Commission indicates in the Proposed Decision that it intends to issue a rulemaking on its own motion in the near future on topics “related to, but broader than” the ones set forth in Verizon’s petition.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.  
  • $640,698 in CASF Contingent Funding Awarded for Calaveras Telephone Company’s Poker Flat Project (Item 25, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Resolution adopts $640,698 in CASF contingent funding for Calaveras Telephone Company’s (Calaveras) Poker Flat Project.  The Poker Flat project is a proposed upgrade of broadband service for an isolated shoreline community six miles south from the main Copperopolis turn off from State Highway 4, consisting of 409 households and one square mile on Lake Tulloch.  The total cost of the project is $6,406,976, with 10% being requested from CASF, $4,086,976 (64%) in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds, and the $1,679,303 balance from Calaveras’s internally generated funds.  The Draft Resolution associated with this item is available here.
  • Qwest Communications Corporation’s Complaint Regarding Intrastate Switched Access Services Dismissed (Item 27, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Decision dismisses Qwest Communications Corporation’s (Qwest) complaint against seven CLECs.  The complaint contended that the defendant CLECs offered intrastate switched access services to other similarly situated CLECs at lower prices than stated in filed tariffs and charged to Qwest.  The Proposed Decision finds that Qwest failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because the CLECs were authorized by previous Commission regulations to voluntarily contract for different intrastate access service rates, so long as a tariffed rate subject to the adopted cap was also in place. Qwest only alleged that it did not receive the same lower rates, which would be permissible under Commission regulations.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.      
     
    G-FIVE Communications, LLC Granted a CPCN (Item 31, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Decision grants a CPCN to G-FIVE Communications, LLC (G-FIVE) to provide resold competitive local exchange services in the service territories of Pacific Bell Telephone Company dba AT&T California (AT&T), Verizon California Inc. (Verizon), Citizens Telecommunications Company of California, Inc. dba Frontier Communications of California (Frontier), and SureWest Telephone (SureWest).  G-FIVE is a California corporation based out of Redding, California.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.
  • Statutory Deadlines Extended to Resolve Claims Against AT&T California Related to Undergrounding  (Items 33, 34, adopted on consent agenda) – These two items extend statutory deadlines to resolve claims against AT&T by real property developers.  The first claim is by CBIA alleging that AT&T had unlawfully changed its method of billing developers for the cost of replacing aerial facilities with underground facilities under AT&T Tariff Rule 32, which resulted in an unlawful increased cost to developers without Commission approval.  The second claim is by real estate developers La Collina dal Lago and Bernau Development Corporation, who allege that AT&T illegally failed to provide reimbursement to property developers for their costs in constructing underground telephone structures connecting new developments to AT&T’s telephone network.  The Proposed Decisions associated with these item are located here and here.
  • Decision Affirming Verizon’s Denial of Blue Rooster Telecom, Inc.’s Request to Adopt Interconnection Agreement (Item 35, adopted on consent agenda) – This Proposed Decision affirms a Final Arbitrator’s Report determining that Blue Rooster Telecom, Inc. (Blue Rooster) is not entitled to adopt the existing interconnection agreement between Blue Casa Communications, Inc. (Blue Casa) and Verizon, or to commence operations under that agreement pending resolution of the parties’ interconnection dispute.  Blue Rooster is a newly-certified CLEC, and Verizon contends that it should not be required to honor the terms of the prior interconnection agreement as a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the original parties entered into it.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.

SIGNIFICANT ENERGY ITEMS 


  • Commission Finds Corporations or Persons Who Sell Electric Vehicle Charging Services Are Not Public Utilities (Item 43, adopted on regular agenda 5-0) – This Proposed Decision finds that companies or individuals that sell electric vehicle charging services to the public will not be regulated as “public utilities” pursuant to the Public Utilities Code. The Decision also identifies ways that the Commission can exercise regulatory authority to ensure that electric vehicle charging remains within the capabilities of California’s electric grid.  The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here

SIGNIFICANT HELD OR WITHDRAWN ITEMS


  • Revoking 9 Wireless Identification Registrations for Failure to Comply With Public Utilities Code Section 401-435 (Filing of CPUC Reimbursement Account Reports and Payment of Applicable Fees), Resolution T-17278  (Item 24, held until 8/12/10) – This Draft Resolution revokes 9 Wireless Identification Registrations (WIRs) for failure to comply with Public Utilities Code Sections 401-435, which collectively require telephone carriers including WIRs to file reports with the CPUC which show the amount of California Intrastate revenue earned. The Communications Division sent two notices out of their duty to comply with the report/fee submission to the affected carriers who all failed to respond. The Draft Resolution is available here.
  • CPUC Position on 911 Warmline Bill (Item 52, held to 8/12/10 by Staff) – SB 1375 (Price) would modify the current “warmline” requirements under Public Utilities Code Section 2883. 

COMMISSION REPORTS 


Given the length of the meeting, the Commissioners held Commissioner Reports until the next agenda meeting.  Commissioner Simon, however, noted that he has hired a new legal/telecommunications advisor, Christhian Escobar, who formerly served in his office as a legal intern.

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