The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has reversed a series of earlier rulings and has now allowed U S WEST Communications, Inc. to sell certain rural telephone exchanges to small independent local telephone carriers. Putting aside prior concerns that excessive sales prices would impose higher rates, the PUC found that projections of the ratio of purchase price to net book value had been overstated. It said the ratio had improved with recent increases in plant investment, as well as from a plan by U S WEST to contribute funds to replace switches in the sale exchanges. Commissioner Dennis S. Hansen dissented, predicting that some customers would see rate hikes even with the recent contributions. Re U S WEST Communications, Inc., Case Nos. ALB-T-94-1, USW-S-94-4, et al., Order No. 26353, March 5, 1996 (Idaho P.U.C.).
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