Colorado Legislative Council Staff
NO FISCAL IMPACT
February 3, 1998
Will Meyer (866-4976)
TITLE: CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF RURAL TELEPHONE COMPANIES, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, ADOPTING A DEFINITION OF “RURAL TELEPHONE COMPANY” THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL LAW AND GRANTING RURAL TELEPHONE COMPANIES A PARTIAL EXEMPTION FROM LIMITATIONS ON RESIDENTIAL RATE INCREASES.
Summary of Assessment
The provisions of this bill would allow rural telephone companies to exceed the rate cap for residential basic local exchange service that was adopted in 1995 requiring companies to show that the increase is necessary to meet the requirements of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This bill would allow rural telephone companies to increase their rates for residential service up to five percent without advance approval by the PUC for the purpose of recovering specific costs. The bill would become effective at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the ninety-day period after adjournment sine die of the General Assembly, or on the date of the official declaration of the vote of the people as proclaimed by the Governor, if a referendum petition is filed pursuant to Article V, Section 1 (3) of the State Constitution.
Public Utilities Commission. The provisions of this bill would allow qualifying companies to enact rate changes without a review by the PUC; unless 10 percent of a company’s residential customers or 500 such customers, whichever is less, register a complaint, in which the case would be subject to review by the PUC. This could result in a decrease or an increase, or no change, in the number of rate cases heard by the PUC.
Office of Consumer Counsel. If qualifying companies were to enact rate changes, there could be an impact to the workload of the OCC. The impact could occur in the following three ways: (1) if the customers requested a hearing or suspension of the rate increase; (2) if the PUC filed a show cause; or (3) if the OCC filed a complaint.
The potential impact to the PUC and OCC is conditional on the number of rate changes initiated by some 30 rural telephone companies and the resulting responses. Both the PUC and the OCC are staffed to hear and investigate complaints. It is assumed that, on the balance, the change in the number of hearings would be minimal and have no impact to the PUC or the OCC. The provisions of the bill would not impact any other agency of the state, or unit of local government. Therefore, this bill is assess as having no fiscal impact.