11-9-2021 PUC Hearing on Consolidated Communications Petition for a Successor Incentive Regulation Plan

09 November 2021

On October 1, 2021, Consolidated Communications filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission (case # 21-4060-PET) to approve a proposed successor incentive regulation plan. The petition includes some proposed changes to how Consolidated Communications is regulated. Specifically, Consolidated proposes the following: 

  • To "eliminate rate regulation for basic business service in Vermont"
  • To "eliminate regulation of residential voice service in areas (municipalities) where there is broadband sufficient to allow for a voice alternative to over 97% of the locations in the area, as well as a cable or fiber competitor available to over 91% of the locations in the municipality"
  • To "eliminate rate regulation on “bundled services” in all areas of the state thereby keeping regulation limited to only a “basic service,” which acts as a backstop to ensure customers in non-competitive areas have a rate regulated option to access the public switched telephone network" and
  • To change the metric Consolidated must report on for the percentage of out-of-service residential phone troubles not resolved, from within 24 hours to within 48 hours; and to eliminate the measurement of out-of-service business phone troubles not resolved

On November 4, 2021, the Commission issued an order opening an investigation into the petition. The Commission also commented on the schedule proposed by Consolidated stating, "We are concerned that the proposed schedule does not allow sufficient time for public participation and it is not apparent from the filings whether Consolidated Communications has provided its customers with notice of this proceeding."

To discuss these issues and potential revisions to the proposed schedule, the Commission will conduct a scheduling conference (which is open to the public) on November 9, 2021, at 11 am via GoToMeeting videoconference.

Participants and members of the public may access the scheduling conference online, or call in by telephone using the following information: phone number: 1 (571) 317-3116; access code: 330-261-805. Participants may wish to download the GoToMeeting software application in advance of the hearing. Guidance on how to join the meeting and system requirements are also available.