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On Thursday, November 30, 2006, the Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting. The meeting began amidst a two-ring circus, as a group of disgruntled Felton ratepayers and a large band of Greenlining Institute followers competed for the limelight. The residents of Felton renewed their oft-stated pleas that the Commission should reject proposed rate increases from California American Water Company, and pave the way for the town to purchase its own water system. The Greenlining-led group countered with impassioned urgings that the CPUC’s video franchising OIR should be used to achieve various types of social justice.

After a raucous start to the meeting, the Commission moved swiftly through a brief agenda. The significant telecommunications-related items are addressed below.


REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS

  • Decision Resolving Greenlining Petition For Rulemaking Addressing Supplier Diversity (Item 8, adopted on consent agenda) – This decision implements a requirement that utilities with annual revenues exceeding $25 million provide annual reports showing the aggregate number of Women/Minority/Disabled/Veteran Business Enterprises (“WMDVBE”) suppliers that provide products or services to those utilities, and the annual revenues spent on those suppliers. Although it implements these requirements, the decision rejects a petition for rulemaking by the Greenlining Institute that would have codified these or similar requirements in Commission General Order 156.

  • Customer Complaint Against AT&T Dismissed for Failure to State a Claim (Item 20, adopted on consent agenda) – This decision resolves a complaint case by Cruise Holiday of Arcadia against AT&T, in which Cruise Holiday alleged that SBC had agreed to provide service in perpetuity at non-tariffed rates. As evidence for its theory, the customer produced an order form with a handwritten note that “rate will never change.” Based in part on a finding that Cruise Holiday was seeking to obtain an “unlawful preference not accorded to other customers,” the customer’s complaint was denied.

  • Frontier Interconnection Agreements Approved (Items 22, 23, adopted on consent agenda) – Item 23 approves an interconnection agreement between Frontier and Comcast, thereby paving the way for Comcast to compete in Frontier’s territory. Item 22 approves an interconnection agreement between Frontier and its affiliate, Citizens Long Distance.

  • Interconnection Agreement Between TDS and Verizon Wireless Approved (Item 21, adopted on consent agenda) – This item approves an interconnection agreement between TDS and Verizon Wireless.


SIGNIFICANT HELD AND WITHDRAWN ITEMS

  • Resolution Addressing Timing, Format, Scope, and Burdens Associated with Informal Data Requests (Item 13, Held by staff until 12/14) – This draft resolution would address a host of issues surrounding the Commission’s practice of issuing informal data requests to utilities. This draft resolution stems from the Commission’s consumer protection initiative, but its implications are considerably broader. The draft resolution would establish a strong presumption in favor of informal data requests, and would define a set of dispute resolution procedures for resolving disagreements between staff and utilities regarding the scope, timing, format, and scope of such requests. Comments on the draft resolution have recently been received, and the Commission is evaluating those comments.

  • Decision Adopting Affiliate Transaction Rules and Modifying General Order 77 (Item 39, Held by Chong until 12/14 for further consideration) – Adoption of this proposed decision would conclude the rulemaking opened last year to address affiliate transaction issues for energy utilities, and to implement corresponding revision to G.O. 77. The proposed decision confirms that the regulations issuing from this rulemaking are applicable only to energy utilities.

  • Decision Addressing VNXX Issues for Small Local Exchange Carriers (Item 46, Held by Peevey until 12/14 for further consideration) – This proposed decision would clarify the proper intercarrier compensation treatment of calls with disparate rating and routing points (often called “Virtual NXX” or “VNXX” calls), where those calls are rated as local calls in Small LEC service territories. As currently configured, the proposed decision would apply reciprocal compensation principles to VNXX calls, but would permit the Small LECs to charge CLECs originating VNXX calls for the transport required to get the calls from the meet point to the ILEC-CLEC point of interconnection. The ALJ recently issued a ruling permitting parties to offer comments on recent revisions to the proposed decision.

  • Decision Approving Surcharge to Recover Costs of Mandatory Undergrounding in the City of San Diego (Item 47, Held by staff until 12/14) – This proposed decision would permit AT&T to implement a specific $0.94 per customer surcharge to recover its costs of implementing an undergrounding ordinance passed by the City of San Diego. The San Diego ordinance was adopted in January 2001, and it requires all overhead utility lines to be undergrounded within 20 years. According to AT&T, compliance with this ordinance will come at significant cost. The legality of the proposed surcharge and the amount of the surcharge were hotly contested as part of this proceeding, but the proposed decision would sanction the surcharge subject to certain requirements.

  • Decision Eliminating Intervenor Compensation Fund in Quasi-Legislative Proceedings (Item 53, held by staff until 12/14) – This proposed decision would modify the Commission’s intervenor compensation protocols in certain respects, most notably by removing the intervenor compensation fund that is relied on to compensate intervenors for their contributions in quasi-legislative proceedings. Rather than paying intervenors in this manner, the proposed decision would shift intervenor costs to carriers. In telecommunications-related proceedings, carriers with more than $50 million in annual revenue would be responsible for dividing up intervenor payments.

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