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PUCO Schedules Public Hearings for Proposed Telephone Rules

Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 2:25 PM

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The state of Ohio is in the process of changing the rules for local phone service. The proposed rules would freeze the price of basic service, but other phone services could be raised. The Ohio Consumer's Council and at least one senior citizen's group feels the new regulations would lead to higher prices. The future of local phone service in Ohio is the subject of a series or public hearings being held throughout the state right now. Click here for more on the meetings. Aired May 31, 2001.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 31 /PRNewswire/ - The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today scheduled a series of public hearings across the state of Ohio to provide customers with an opportunity to express their views on the Staff-proposed alternative regulation plan for local telephone companies.

The public hearings are scheduled as follows:

* Dayton - Monday, June .18, 2001, 7 p.m., Dayton Municipal Building, City Commission Chambers, 101 V. Third Street;
* Athens - Tuesday, June 19, 2001, 2 p.m., City Hall Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, 6 East Washington Street;
* Columbus - Wednesday, June 20, 2001, 10 a.m., The offices of the PUCO, 11th Floor, Borden Building, 180 East Broad Street;
* Cincinnati - Thursday, June 21, 2001, 7 p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers, 801 Plum Street;
* Cleveland - Friday, June 22, 2001, 2 p.m., Lausche State Office Tower, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 615 W. Superior Avenue;
* Mansfield - Monday, June 25, 2001, 10 a.m., City Hall, Council Chambers, 30 N. Diamond Street, Third Floor; and
* Toledo - Monday, June 25, 2001, 7 p.m., Toledo Government Center, City Council Chambers, 1 Government Center, First Floor.

The Commission is in the process of receiving written comments from interested parties regarding a staff-proposed alternative regulation plan that incumbent local telephone companies could opt into instead of proposing their own company-specific plan. Under this plan, a local telephone company would get earnings-free regulation with greater pricing flexibility for optional and discretionary services, in exchange for committing to freeze existing basic local exchange telephone service rates and to provide from all central offices in its territory the capability to deliver advanced telecommunications services. Advanced telecommunications services are high-speed broadband services that enable users to originate and receive high-quality data, graphics, and video using any technology.

After reviewing all the written comments and hearing the views expressed at the public hearings, the Commission will issue a final decision on an elective alternative regulation plan for local telephone companies.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service and rates. The role of the Public Utilities commission of Ohio is to assure all residential, business, and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe, and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices.

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