Phillip S. Cross
A federal court blocks FCC's "TELRIC" cost rule, but some states endorse it anyway.
With the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) having lost a major court battle last fall, the state public utility commission (PUCs) have taken the lead in the deregulation of local telephone service promised a year ago when President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the "Act").
Some states have opened generic investigations; others have chosen to proceed case-by-case in individual arbitration proceedings.
Sound bites from state and federal regulators.
Natural Gas Briefs
Gas Rate Indexing. Alabama continues its a rate stabilization and equalization (RSE) procedure for Alabama Gas Corp. (rates adjusted quarterly to conform return on equity to a preset range). Commission says RSE plan has helped company address recent gas market changes such as supply diversification, system bypass, and competition. Docket No. 25600, Oct. 7, 1996 (Ala.P.S.C.).
Gas Motor Vehicles. Peoples Natural Gas Co.
Bruce W. Radford
Ever since word hit the street last July that Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) would merge with gas industry giant Enron, the news has been rather one-sided. It's been "Enron this" and "Enron that." From reading the papers one might think Enron, with its strong reputation as a commodities trader, was buying an entire electric utility simply to take a bigger position on the NYMEX futures market.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Once burned, but twice eager, utilities reprise their 1980s-era strategy, this time in the telephone business.
"It's not like they're going to open a pharmacy. It is directly related in some way, or at least arguably."
Earlier this year, 15 utilities grabbed the brass ring: a full-blown chance to enter the telecom business.
Lori A. Burkhart
Georgia Commissioner Stan Wise says he is very unhappy with the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require states to deaverage the cost of providing telephone service for companies that want to compete with the regional Bell operating carriers, such as BellSouth.
(The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit enjoined some aspects of the FCC rules on October 15. See, Courts and Commission, In Brief, p.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
As electric restructuring rockets to the top of state public utility commission agendas, regulators find themselves pushed in every direction. Pushing the hardest, in most cases, are legislators, who, like commissioners, are being lobbied by utilities, industrial consumers, and sometimes, residential customers. Each party has its agenda. Some wield more clout than others.
Public Utilities Fortnightly asked eight commissioners about the demands of restructuring and about an issue particular to their state.
Comments by P.
Stanley W. Hulett
In August, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules to show how new competitors can enter the local markets for telecommunications (em forever relegating local telephone monopolies to that switchboard in the sky.
Objective. Estimate market impacts of "1+" dialing parity plus eliminating traditional LATA boundary.
Model. Measure shifts in market dominance between major competitors, by assuming price changes and estimating revenue impacts across range of demand elasticities, to reflect both changed rates and market shares. Also consider changes to revenues collected by U S WEST through carrier access charge (CAC).
Scope. Limited to residential toll calls carried by AT&T and U S WEST. Does not examine commercial toll customers.
Terrence J. Schroepfer, and Margarete Z. Starkey
LEASING THE LOOP:
Telephone Service Resale in the Local ExchangeResellers want steep discounts, but local rates don't always cover costs. And reselling local lines provides little incentive
to upgrade the network.The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act) compels local exchange carriers (LECs) to sell telephone service to competitors (em who would then resell to the public at retail. Instead of constructing their own local distribution networks, competitors would buy local telephone service from the existing carrier at discounted rates.
John W. Berresford
Deregulation, competition, and marketplace practices have been spreading slowly across the communications business for decades. In their wake, they have left lower prices, faster innovation, and more services, jobs, profits, and productivity.
Among the proposals for still further change, one of the most shocking is the idea that radio rights should be bought and sold on the open market, just like land or any other commodity.