On September 23, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting. The telecommunications agenda was relatively light. The Commission approved the request of WWC License LLC (Western Wireless) to relinquish its status as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC). Frontier Communications of the Southwest, a new subsidiary of Frontier Communications, was granted “Lifeline only” ETC status in California with respect to exchanges formerly owned by Verizon. In Commissioner reports, the Commission addressed the recent San Bruno pipeline explosion, and the actions that they will be taking in response. On the energy side, the Commission voted to oppose Proposition 23 because of its effect on the State’s Global Warming Solutions Act. These and other items of interest on the Commission’s agenda are discussed in further detail below.
REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
- WWC License LLC to Relinquish ETC Designation Status (Item 18, adopted on consent agenda) – This Resolution grants the request of WWC License LLC (Western Wireless) to relinquish its designation status as an ETC. Western Wireless had been the only wireless ETC in the state, and had been serving wireless customers pursuant to that ETC designation in Inyo and Mono Counties since 2000, and in Imperial County since 2004. The final Resolution associated with this item is available here.
- Frontier Communications of the Southwest, Inc. Designated as a “LifeLine Only” ETC (Item 20, adopted on consent agenda) – This Final Resolution grants the request of Frontier Communications of the Southwest, Inc. (Frontier CSW) to be a “LifeLine only” ETC in the seven California exchanges that it acquired from Verizon California. The designation will be for the limited purpose of providing federal Lifeline and Link Up services in the exchanges. Frontier CSW is not requesting federal High Cost Fund support. The Final Resolution associated with this item is available here.
- Shasta Telecom Inc.’s CPCN Reinstated (Item 9, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision grants Shasta Telecom, Inc. (Shasta) reinstatement of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) in order to provide limited facilities based local exchange service in previously unserved territory in the Northeastern Intermountain area of Shasta County via mobile communications technology, and interexchange service in California. Shasta had been previously issued a CPCN in 2008, but did not exercise its authority within 12 months of the order so the authority expired. The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.
- Krush Communications Granted a CPCN (Item 32, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision adopts a proposed settlement agreement between the Commission’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division (CPSD) and Krush Communications, LLC (Krush), and grants Krush a CPCN to provide services in California as a prepaid phone card provider and interexchange service as a non-dominant interexchange carrier. The settlement agreement, in part, requires Krush to pay a penalty of $7500 to the General Fund related to Krush’s failure to obtain the required authority prior to selling its prepaid calling cards in California. The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.
- Customer Complaint for Alleged Wrongful Disconnection Against AT&T California Dismissed (Item 21, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision dismisses a complaint against Pacific Bell Telephone Company, dba AT&T California (AT&T) in which the complainant contended that his phone service was inappropriately disconnected, and requested an order that AT&T both restore his telephone service and pay punitive damages. AT&T adjusted all the charges that complainant disputed, and since the requested damages were unavailable to complainant in the proceeding, the Commission dismissed the Complaint. The Draft Order of Dismissal associated with this item is available here.
- Deadline Extended for Resolution of Rulemaking Related to Review of CPUC’s Telecommunications Public Policy Programs (R.06-05-028) (Item 23, adopted on consent agenda) – The Commission again extended the statutory deadline for resolution of R.06-05-028, the proceeding to comprehensively review the CPUC’s Telecommunications Public Policy Programs, including the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service (Lifeline), Payphone Program, Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, and the California Teleconnect Fund. The new deadline is August 23, 2010. Commission Decision 08-06-020 addressed four of the five Telecommunications Public Policy Payphone Programs at issue, with the only remaining program under review being the Lifeline Program. A Decision is expected later this year addressing LifeLine issues. The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.
- Deadline Extended for Resolution of AT&T Claims Against Sprint PCS (Case No. 09-09-003) (Item 24, adopted on consent agenda) – The Commission extended the statutory deadline one year for resolution of this matter, on the grounds that the parties have been engaged in settlement discussions that were recently suspended in order to get further guidance from the assigned Administrative Law Judge on certain issues and options going forward. The matter involves AT&T’s claims that Sprint PCS violated the 2002 Sprint interconnection agreement by delivering interLATA interMTA traffic to AT&T over local trunks reserved for the delivery of local and intraLATA interMTA traffic, and that Sprint PCS violated the 2002 Sprint interconnection agreement and 2009 Sprint interconnection agreement by failing to appropriately identify and pay the appropriately identify and pay the appropriate charges for interMTA traffic. The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.
- $27,298.07 Awarded to The Utility Reform Network in Commission Proceeding Creating an Exemption from Public Utilities Code § 851 for URF Carriers (Item 36, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision awards $27,298.07 in intervenor compensation to The Utility Reform Network (TURN) for contributions to D.10-05-019, a decision which created an exemption from Public Utilities Code § 851 for carriers classified as Uniform Regulatory Framework (URF) carriers, exempting the carriers from the requirement to file a request with the Commission to sell or encumber non-controversial assets. The Proposed Decision associated with this item is available here.
SIGNIFICANT ENERGY ITEMS
- Actions to Be Taken by Commission in Response to San Bruno Pipeline Explosion (Item 42, adopted on regular agenda) – This Resolution outlines the Commission’s response to the San Bruno Pipeline Explosion. Each Commissioner spoke regarding the pipeline explosion, and regarding a CPUC employee that was lost in the tragedy. The Resolution provides for a fact-finding investigation into the pipeline explosion, and into the general safety risks associated with Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) gas transmission lines in the State. The Resolution creates an independent review panel of experts to conduct this investigation and make recommendations to the Commission for the improvement of PG&E’s natural gas transmission lines. The costs of the independent review panel will be funded by PG&E. The final Resolution associated with this item is available here.
- CPUC Votes to Oppose Proposition 23 Because of Effect on State’s Global Warming Solutions Act (Item 51, adopted on regular agenda) – The Commission voted to oppose Proposition 23 on the November ballot because of its effect suspending Assembly Bill (AB) 32, the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. AB 32 established the goal of reducing California’s statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Prop 23 would require the suspension of AB 32 until the unemployment rate for the state is 5.5% or less for four consecutive quarters. The Commission believes that this initiative would significantly impair California’s ability to implement policies aimed at combating climate change. A press release associated with the item is available here.