Announcements

 

 

Guide to the 248a Process

This guide is intended to walk readers through the Public Service Board’s process for the siting and construction of telecommunications facilities. Communications facilities can, and often do, raise many legitimate concerns for the communities they serve. From public safety to environmental and aesthetic impacts, these facilities often present complex challenges. In addition, PSB practice can be confusing and difficult to those who are unfamiliar with it. This guide explains the process and the role individuals and towns can play in the process. It is our hope that with the help of this guide, cities, towns and individuals will be able to positively shape our telecommunications future through effective participation in the § 248a process.  The Public Service Board has adopted a set of procedures for processing 248a petitions in the Second Amended Procedures Order issued September 5, 2014 which is also informative.

Guide to the 248a process

PSB 248a 248a Procedures

Comcast Internet Essentials Program

Notice to Comcast Customers: 

As a way to celebrate the beginning of the school year, Comcast is offering six months of free internet service to eligible low-income families that have not previously signed up for the company's discounted Internet Essentials service (normally $9.95 per month, plus tax), if they sign up by September 20, 2014

Families with a school-age child eligible for federal school-lunch subsidies are able to participate in Internet Essentials. This program includes discounted Internet access service, as well as the offer of an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 and various print, online, and in-person digital literacy training options. Contact Comcast at 1-855-846-8376 or 1-800-266-2278 for more information.
 

2014 Vermont Telecommunications Plan Public Comments Draft

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE ISSSUES PUBLIC COMMENTS DRAFT OF THE 2014 VERMONT TELECOMMUNICATIONS PLAN & INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT

Montpelier—The Department of Public Service, in conjunction with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Information and Innovation, is pleased to announce the release of the 2014 Telecommunications Plan public comments draft. The Plan addresses the major ongoing developments in the telecommunications industry, including broadband infrastructure development, regulatory policy and recommendations for future action.

“This plan provides Vermont residents, businesses, and policy leaders with an objective assessment of how far we’ve come in the last 10 years, our successes, as well as our vision for the next ten years,” said Public Service Commissioner Christopher Recchia. “The Plan also discusses the telecommunications challenges facing Vermont, as well as realistic and attainable solutions to those challenges,” he added. Highlights of the Plan include an overview of the state’s existing broadband infrastructure and strategies for increasing speeds and affordability of broadband service.

The Department will hold three public hearings on the public comments draft of the Plan prior to adopting the final Plan. The hearings will be held as follows:

Copies of the draft plan and information about the comment period may be obtained from the Department of Public Service by visiting http://publicservice.vermont.gov/publications or by calling (802) 828-4003. Copies may also be requested by email sent to psd.telecom@state.vt.us, or by writing to the Department of Public Service, 112 State Street, Drawer 20, Montpelier, VT 05620.  We welcome and encourage commentary on the Plan.  Comments may be submitted either electronically or by mail to the address above.

 

Proposed Changes to Vermont Yankee’s Site Emergency Plan

Entergy has proposed changes to its Site Emergency Plan at Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vermont. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must approve of these changes and is seeking comments on the proposal before making a ruling.

 

For information regarding the proposed changes to Vermont Yankee’s Site Emergency Plan, please click on the link to the Federal Register Notice of Consideration: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/22/2014-17257/biweekly-notice-applications-and-amendments-to-facility-operating-licenses-and-combined-licenses#h-20  

            

Instructions for submitting comments are at the top of the link page. Alternatively, comments may be mailed to:  Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-A44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

 

Comments must be filed by August 21, 2014.  A request for a hearing must be filed by September 22, 2014. 

 

Although the State of Vermont does not have jurisdiction over Vermont Yankee's Site Emergency Plan, the Department of Public Service and other state agencies intend to file comments with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding this matter.

 

The full text of Vermont Yankee's license amendment request is available at:  http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1408/ML14085A257.pdf

2014 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report

The 2014 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report Released by Governor Shumlin

Joined by Public Service Department Commissioner Christopher Recchia, the Governor released the 2014 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report, the first effort in the state to survey and describe the status and characteristics of Vermont’s clean energy industry.

CEDF FY 2015 Annual Program Plan and Allocations

June 13, 2014 -- Request for Public Comment on the FY 2015 Annual Program Plan and Allocations

  • The Clean Energy Development Fund released for public comment its Annual Program Plan and Budget Allocations for the 2015 fiscal year.  Included in the Plan are changes to the existing Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

    Comments received by July 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM were given to the members of the Clean Energy Development Board for their consideration.  ComThe Clean Energy Development Board will vote on a final Plan and Budget Allocations for FY 2015 on July 25th, 2014.

Telecommunications Plan Hearing Video and Transcript

On February 21, 2014, the Department of Public Service held a hearing to gain public input on telecommunications issues facing Vermont in anticipation of releasing the 2014 Telecommunications Plan. To view a video of the event or read the transcript, please click here.

VEC reports telephone scam

Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) officials are warning members about a phone scam targeting utility consumers that aims to collect credit card information. Under the current scam, consumers have been contacted by callers that claim to be representing VEC and demand credit card information from consumers to pay their account balance or face immediate disconnection. This is fraudulent and inaccurate.

VEC follows Vermont Public Service Board rules when working with members on past due bills and pending disconnections. VEC does contact members by phone in order to agree upon a payment plan but does not require payment in full. Additionally, VEC offers alternative options for how the payment can be made to the utility.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call should remember not to give out personal information, including account or credit card numbers. To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a representative of Vermont Electric Cooperative and requesting credit card information, members should call the utility at 1-800-832-2667.

At least some of the fraudulent calls have come from the phone number 866-978-6955, extension 2235. These calls have been reported to local police and are being investigated. Please contact VEC or the Vermont Department of Public Service with any questions or concerns. You may reach the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Public Service at 1-800-622-4496. Members may also choose to report these calls to the Vermont State Police.
 

Vermont USF High-Cost Phase III report

Act 169, as it amends 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(8), requires a series of reports related to the Vermont Universal Service Fund. The Public Service Department contracted with the consultant RLSA to prepare these reports. Volume III of the Universal Service Fund Report, entitled "Universal Service Goals and Policy Options," fulfills the Department's obligations under 30 V.S.A. $ 7515 (b). The purpose of this report is to inform the Legislature about various universal service considerations as committees take up the subject of universal service reform. The Department notes that the views, opinions, and recommendations contained within this report are strictly those of the authors, and do not represent the position or preferred policy direction of the Department.

 

Vermont USF Phase III report

Vermont USF study released

Act 169, as it amends 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(8), requires a series of reports related to the Vermont Universal Service Fund. The Public Service Department contracted with the consultant RLSA to prepare a report on the costs and profibitablity of Vermont Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers.

Costs and Profitibility Report

Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 23, 2013, between the State of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee

Please find attached two documents that describe the Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 23, 2013, between the State of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee.

VY_Settlement_Agreement_131223

Docket_7862_MOU

High Cost Study - VUSF Audit Report

As directed by Act 169, as it added subsection 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(8), the PSD released the VUSF Audit Report portion of its High Cost Study, titled QSI VUSF Audit Report: Assessment of the Vermont Universal Service Fund, on May 3, 2013.  The Department, in conjunction with the Public Service Board, contracted the firm QSI Consulting, Inc. (“QSI”) to conduct the audit and prepare a report on the Vermont Universal Service Fund ("VUSF").  QSI's audit report details the management audit performed by QSI to: (1) analyze the Fiscal Agent's administration practices; (2) examine telecommunications service provider practices of collecting VUSF surcharges from their retail telecommunications customers; (3) test the accuracy of VUSF surcharge remittances made by telecommunications service providers to the Fiscal Agent and the Fiscal Agent's accounting of those remittances; and (4) review the Fiscal Agent's practices and procedures involving the disbursement of VUSF monies to the authorized programs funded by the VUSF.

High Cost Study - FCC Impact Report

As directed by Act 169, as it amends 30 V.S.A. § 7515(b)(6), the PSD released the FCC Impact Report portion of its High Cost Study, titled Revenue Effects of FCC Reforms to Intercarrier Compensation and Federal Universal Service Mechanisms, on February 19, 2013.  The Department, in conjunction with the Public Service Board (“Board”), contracted the consulting firm Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates (“RLSA”) to conduct this FCC impact study as the first of a three part study into whether high cost services should be supported through the Vermont Universal Service Fund (“VUSF”).  This report concludes that while FCC actions will have an impact on ILEC revenues, until the regulated and non-regulated revenues are studied in further reports, due to be submitted to the legislature in March and April, respectively, the Department cannot make a recommendation regarding the activation of high cost voice support at this time.

Prepaid Wireless VUSF Report

As directed by Act 169, Section 4, the PSD released its prepaid wireless VUSF report, titled Analysis and Recommendations Regarding the Application of the State's Universal Service Charge to Prepaid Wireless Telecommunications Services, on February 7, 2013.  To develop the report, the PSD, in consultation with the Department of Taxes, convened a working group to consider how and whether to implement VUSF charges for prepaid wireless services.  Included in the report are two alternatives for draft legislation.

2012 Vermont Telecom Survey Report

On February 7, 2013, the Public Service Department released the 2012 Vermont Telecommunications Survey Report.  ICF International conducted the survey on the behalf of the Department from July through September 2012.

Vermont Smart Meter Measurement Report

As directed by Act 170, the PSD released the Vermont smart meter measurement report, titled An Evaluation of Radio Frequency Fields Produced by Smart Meters Deployed in Vermont, on January 23, 2013.  The full report is now available as a single PDF document.