Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

Amendment

 

February Session, 2012

LCO No. 3436

   
 

*SB0044703436SDO*

Offered by:

 

SEN. FONFARA, 1st Dist.

SEN. WITKOS, 8th Dist.

 

To: Subst. Senate Bill No. 447

File No. 431

Cal. No. 306

Strike everything after the enacting clause and substitute the following in lieu thereof:

"Section 1. Section 16-247f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) The authority shall regulate the provision of telecommunications services in the state in a manner designed to foster competition and protect the public interest.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16-19, the following telecommunications services shall be deemed competitive services: (1) A telecommunications service offered on or before July 1, 1994, by a certified telecommunications provider and a wide area telephone service, "800" service, centrex service or digital centrex service offered by a telephone company, (2) a telecommunications service offered to business customers by a telephone company, (3) a home office service offered by a telephone company, and (4) a telecommunications service provided by a telephone company to a residential customer who subscribes to two or more telephone company services, including basic local exchange service, any vertical feature or interstate toll provided by a telephone company affiliate. Unless reclassified pursuant to this section, any other service offered by a telephone company on or before July 1, 1994, shall be deemed a noncompetitive service, provided such initial classification shall not be a factual finding that such service is noncompetitive. [Notwithstanding subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b, prior to January 1, 2010, a telephone company shall not obtain a waiver from the authority of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b for any service reclassified as competitive pursuant to subdivision (2), (3) or (4) of this subsection. ]

(c) On petition [,] or on its own motion, [or in conjunction with a tariff investigation conducted pursuant to subsection (f) of this section,] after notice and hearing, and within ninety days of receipt of a petition or its motion or within the time period set forth in subsection (f) of this section, as applicable, the authority may reclassify a telecommunications service as competitive, emerging competitive or noncompetitive, in accordance with the degree of competition which exists for that service in the marketplace, provided (1) a competitive service shall not be reclassified as an emerging competitive service, and (2) the authority may extend the period (A) before the end of the ninety-day period and upon notifying all parties to the proceedings by thirty days, or (B) in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, as applicable.

(d) In determining whether to reclassify a telecommunications service, the authority shall consider:

(1) The number, size and geographic distribution of certified telecommunications providers of the service, provided the authority shall not reclassify any service as competitive if such service is available only from a telephone company or an affiliate of a telephone company that is a certified telecommunications provider;

(2) The availability of functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic area at competitive rates, terms and conditions, including, but not limited to, services offered by certified telecommunications providers, providers of commercial mobile radio services, as defined in 47 CFR 20. 3, voice over Internet protocol providers and other services provided by means of alternative technologies;

(3) The existence of barriers to entry into, or exit from, the relevant market;

(4) Other factors that may affect competition; and

(5) Other factors that may affect the public interest.

(e) On and after July 1, 2012, any certified telecommunications provider or telephone company may, upon written notice to the authority, elect to be exempt from any requirement to file or maintain with the authority any tariff for competitive or emerging competitive intrastate telecommunications services offered or provided to residential or business retail end-user customers and, instead, shall make the terms and conditions for those services available to customers in a customer service guide or in such other manner determined by such provider or company providing such services. Such provider or company shall annually file a copy of the customer service guide or other listing of terms and conditions with the authority. The tariff requirements for noncompetitive services, including for residential basic local exchange service in effect on the effective date of this section, shall remain in effect.

[(e) Each] (f) Unless a certified telecommunications provider or telephone company elects to be exempt from filing or maintaining tariffs for a competitive or emerging competitive intrastate service pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, each certified telecommunications provider and each telephone company shall file with the authority a new or amended tariff for each competitive or emerging competitive intrastate telecommunications service authorized pursuant to section 16-247c. A tariff for a competitive service shall be effective on five days' written notice to the authority. A tariff for an emerging competitive service shall be effective on twenty-one days' written notice to the authority. A tariff filing for a competitive or emerging competitive service shall include (1) rates and charges which may consist of a maximum rate and a minimum rate, (2) applicable terms and conditions, (3) a statement of how the tariff will benefit the public interest, and (4) any additional information required by the authority. A telephone company filing a tariff pursuant to this section shall include in said tariff filing the information set forth in subdivisions (1) to (4), inclusive, of this subsection, a complete explanation of how the company is complying with the provisions of section 16-247b, as amended by this act, and, in a tariff filing which declares a new service to be competitive or emerging competitive, a statement addressing the considerations set forth in subsection (d) of this section. If the authority approves a tariff which consists of a minimum rate and a maximum rate, the certified telecommunications provider or telephone company may amend its rates upon five days' written notice to the authority and any notice to customers which the authority may require, provided the amended rates are not greater than the approved maximum rate and not less than the approved minimum rate. A promotional offering for a previously approved competitive or emerging competitive tariffed service or a service deemed competitive pursuant to this section shall be effective on three business days' written notice to the authority.

[(f)] (g) On petition or its own motion, the authority may investigate a tariff or any portion of a tariff, which investigation may include a hearing. The authority may suspend a tariff or any portion of a tariff during such investigation. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, an inquiry to determine whether the tariff is predatory, deceptive [,] or anticompetitive. [or violates the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b. ] Not later than seventy-five days after the effective date of the tariff, unless the party filing the tariff, all statutory parties to the proceeding and the authority agree to a specific extension of time, the authority shall issue its decision, including whether to approve, modify or deny the tariff. If the authority determines that a tariff filed as a new service is, in fact, a reclassification of an existing service, the authority shall review the tariff filing as a petition for reclassification in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.

[(g) The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the authority from ordering different tariff filing procedures or effective dates for an emerging competitive service, pursuant to a plan for an alternative form of regulation of a telephone company approved by the authority in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247k. ]

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) The date and time of filing of each document with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall be the date and time by which the authority first receives a complete electronic or paper version of the document, provided such electronic version or paper version is filed in accordance with section 16-1-14 of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies. If payment of a fee is required, a document shall not be deemed filed until the fee is received by the authority. If a document is electronically submitted when the offices of the authority are not open, such electronic document shall be deemed filed at the time the offices next open. Paper versions of an electronic filing shall not be required to be filed except (1) three paper copies of each document shall be filed with the authority for any electronic filing which is made and such paper copies may be sent to the authority via regular United States Postal Service, (2) any party or intervenor in a specific docket may specifically request of the authority to receive a paper copy from any other party or intervenor of any filings related to that docket if they do not have computer access, and (3) the Office of Consumer Counsel may request up to three paper copies and such paper copies may be sent to the Office of Consumer Counsel by United States mail.

Sec. 3. Section 16-32 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

Each public service company, except telegraph companies and express companies subject to the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission or its successor agency and telephone companies, community antenna television companies, certified competitive video service providers, and holders of a certificate of cable franchise authority, owned, directly or indirectly, by a parent company, the accounts and operations of which are required to be audited annually in accordance with federal law, shall have an annual comprehensive audit and report made of its accounts and operations by independent public accountants satisfactory to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. A copy of such annual audit report shall be filed with the authority, together with the company's annual report. In the absence of such an audit report, or if the authority, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, determines that such audit report is insufficient or unsatisfactory, the authority shall cause such an audit to be made at the expense of the company either by independent public accountants satisfactory to the authority or by any staff of the authority engaged in the activities contemplated by subsection (b) of section 16-8. The authority may require additional information regarding the accounts and operations of a telephone company, community antenna television company, certified competitive video service provider or holder of a certificate of cable franchise authority otherwise exempt from the audit required pursuant to this section, which the authority has determined is necessary to carry out the authority's obligations. The authority may waive the compliance with the provisions of this section by any public service company whose annual gross income is less than one hundred thousand dollars. Nothing in this section shall modify or limit the power of the authority to conduct a management audit or otherwise exercise its authority under section 16-8.

Sec. 4. Section 16-247b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) On petition or its own motion, the authority shall initiate a proceeding to unbundle a telephone company's network, services and functions that are used to provide telecommunications services and which the authority determines, after notice and hearing, are in the public interest, are consistent with federal law and are technically feasible of being tariffed and offered separately or in combinations. Any telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof shall be offered under tariff at rates, terms and conditions that do not unreasonably discriminate among actual and potential users and actual and potential providers of such local network services.

(b) Each telephone company shall provide reasonable nondiscriminatory access and pricing to all telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof necessary to provide telecommunications services to customers. The authority shall determine the rates that a telephone company charges for telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof, that are necessary for the provision of telecommunications services. The rates for interconnection and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof shall be based on their respective forward looking long-run incremental costs, and shall be consistent with the provisions of 47 USC 252(d).

[(c) (1) The rate that a telephone company charges for a competitive or emerging competitive telecommunications service shall not be less than the sum of (A) the rate charged to another telecommunications company for a noncompetitive or emerging competitive local network service function used by that company to provide a competing telecommunications service, and (B) the applicable incremental costs of the telephone company.

(2) On and after the date the authority certifies a telephone company's operations support systems interface pursuant to section 16-247n, the authority shall, upon petition, conduct a contested case proceeding to consider whether modification or removal of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection for a telecommunications service deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f is appropriate. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if the authority determines that such a modification or removal is appropriate and is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a, the authority shall so modify or remove said pricing standard for such telecommunications service.

(3) Prior to the date that the authority certifies a telephone company's operations support systems interface pursuant to section 16-247n, the authority may, upon petition, conduct a contested case proceeding to consider whether modification or removal of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection for a telecommunications service deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f is appropriate. Any petition filed pursuant to this subdivision shall specify the geographic area in which the applicant proposes to modify or remove such pricing standard. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if the authority determines that such modification or removal is appropriate, is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a and facilities-based competition exists in the relevant geographic area, the authority shall so modify or remove said pricing standard for such telecommunications service. In determining whether facilities-based competition exists in the relevant geographic area, the authority shall consider:

(A) The number, size and geographic distribution of other providers of service;

(B) The availability of functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic area at competitive rates, terms and conditions;

(C) The financial viability of each company providing functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic market;

(D) The existence of barriers to entry into, or exit from, the relevant geographic market;

(E) Other indicators of market power that the authority deems relevant, which may include, but not be limited to, market penetration and the extent to which the applicant can sustain the price for the service above the cost to the company of providing the service in the relevant geographic area;

(F) The extent to which other telecommunications companies must rely upon the noncompetitive services of the applicant to provide their telecommunications services and carrier access rates charged by the applicant;

(G) Other factors that may affect competition; and

(H) Other factors that may affect the public interest. ]

[(d)] (c) A telephone company shall not use the revenues, expenses, costs, assets, liabilities or other resources derived from or associated with providing a noncompetitive service to subsidize the provision of competitive, emerging competitive or unregulated telecommunications services by such telephone company or any affiliate that is a certified telecommunications provider.

Sec. 5. Section 16-247m of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

[(a)] On and after July 1, [2001] 2012, a telephone company may [apply to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to] withdraw from the retail provision of a telecommunications service, upon thirty days' notice to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, provided such telecommunications service has been deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f, as amended by this act, prior to the date such [application] notice is submitted. Any such [application] notice shall specify (1) the service that the telephone company no longer wishes to provide, and (2) the geographic area or areas in which the telephone company proposes to no longer provide the service. [, and (3) the number of customers of the telephone company that will be affected by the proposed withdrawal and a discussion of ways to mitigate such impact. ]

[(b) In considering any application by a telephone company pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the authority shall consider (1) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the goals set forth in section 16-247a, (2) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the financial, managerial and technical ability of the telephone company to provide other retail and wholesale telecommunications services and the quality of such services, (3) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the rates paid by retail customers for the service that the telephone company no longer wishes to provide at retail, (4) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the retail availability of such service, and (5) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the ability of certified telecommunications providers to provide a functionally equivalent service at retail. The authority shall not approve any such application for withdrawal unless it finds that such withdrawal (A) is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a, and (B) is not contrary to the public interest. The authority shall not approve any such application or authorize the withdrawal of a telephone company from the provision of a telecommunications service at retail unless the service that the telephone company no longer wishes to provide has been deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f. The authority, in approving any such application, shall develop a method to allow customers receiving such service from the telephone company to choose a new provider of such service, provided the authority shall not order the allocation or assignment of any customer.

(c) Any proceeding conducted pursuant to this section shall be considered a contested case, as defined in section 4-166.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not (1) preclude the withdrawal of a competitive or an emerging competitive tariff pursuant to section 16-247f, (2) preclude a telephone company from withdrawing a noncompetitive service in the normal course of business, or (3) apply to any certified telecommunications provider or any telephone company serving fewer than seventy-five thousand customers. ]

Sec. 6. Section 16-256k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

Each telephone company, as defined in section 16-1, and each certified telecommunications provider, as defined in said section 16-1, shall clearly and conspicuously disclose, in writing, to customers, upon subscription and annually thereafter, (1) whether the removal or change in any telecommunications service will result in the loss of a discount or other change in the rate charged for any telecommunications service subscribed to or used by the customer; and (2) for any promotional offering filed on and after October 1, 2002, with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority pursuant to subsection [(e)] (f) of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, that the offering is a promotion and will be in effect for a limited period of time.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) (a) For the purposes of chapter 283 of the general statutes, "interconnected voice over Internet protocol service" or "interconnected VoIP service" means any service that: (1) Enables real-time, two-way voice communications that originate or terminate from the user's location using Internet protocol or a successor protocol; (2) uses a broadband connection from the user's location; and (3) permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public-switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public-switched telephone network.

(b) Except as set forth in subsections (c) to (e), inclusive, of this section, and notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes or any special act, no department, authority, agency, commission or political subdivision of the state shall enact, adopt or enforce, either directly or indirectly, any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, standard, order or other provision having the force or effect of law that regulates or has the effect of regulating, the entry, rates, terms or conditions of interconnected VoIP service.

(c) Subsection (b) of this section shall not be construed to affect the authority of the Attorney General to apply and enforce the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, sections 42-110a to 42-110q, inclusive, of the general statutes, or other consumer protection laws of general applicability.

(d) Subsection (b) of this section shall not be construed to affect, mandate or prohibit the assessment of enhanced 9-1-1 fees, telecommunications relay service fees or lifeline service fees, and nothing in subsection (b) of this section shall affect the authority of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority pursuant to subsection (a) of section 16-247e of the general statutes.

(e) Subsection (b) of this section shall not be construed to (1) modify or affect the rights, obligations or authority of any entity, including, but not limited to, the authority, to act pursuant to, or enforce the provisions of 47 USC 251, 47 USC 252, any applicable tariff, or any state law, rule, regulation or order related to wholesale rights, duties and obligations, including the rights, duties, and obligations of local exchange carriers to interconnect and exchange voice traffic; (2) modify or affect the power of the authority to implement, carry out, and enforce such provisions, rights, duties, obligations or tariff through arbitration proceedings or other available mechanisms and procedures; or (3) affect the payment of switched network access rates or other intercarrier compensation rates, as applicable.

Sec. 8. Section 16-262d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) No electric, electric distribution, gas, telephone or water company, no electric supplier and no municipal utility furnishing electric, gas or water service may terminate such service to a residential dwelling on account of nonpayment of a delinquent account unless such company, electric supplier or municipal utility first gives notice of such delinquency and impending termination by first class mail addressed to the customer to which such service is billed or by electronic mail to the electronic mail address of such customer, provided such customer authorizes such company, electric supplier or municipal utility to send termination notices to such electronic mail address and such company, electric supplier or municipal utility allows such customer to withdraw such authorization at any time, at least thirteen calendar days prior to the proposed termination, except that if an electric, electric distribution or gas company, electric supplier or municipal utility furnishing electric or gas service has issued a notice under this subsection but has not terminated service prior to issuing a new bill to the customer, such company, electric supplier or municipal utility may terminate such service only after [mailing] sending the customer an additional notice of the impending termination, addressed to the customer to which such service is billed either (1) by first class mail or electronic mail at least thirteen calendar days prior to the proposed termination, or (2) by certified mail, at least seven calendar days prior to the proposed termination. In the event that multiple dates of proposed termination are provided to a customer, no such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall terminate service prior to the latest of such dates. For purposes of this subsection, the thirteen-day periods and seven-day period shall commence on the date such notice is [mailed] sent. If such company, electric supplier or municipal utility does not terminate service within one hundred twenty days after [mailing] sending the initial notice of termination, such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall give the customer a new notice at least thirteen days prior to termination. Every termination notice issued by a public service company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall contain or be accompanied by an explanation of the rights of the customer provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(b) No such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall effect termination of service for nonpayment during such time as any resident of a dwelling to which such service is furnished is seriously ill, if the fact of such serious illness is certified to such company, electric supplier or municipal utility by a registered physician within such period of time after the [mailing] sending of a termination notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may by regulation establish, provided the customer agrees to amortize the unpaid balance of his account over a reasonable period of time and keeps current his account for utility service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.

(c) No such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall effect termination of service to a residential dwelling for nonpayment during the pendency of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal, initiated by a customer within such period of time after the [mailing] sending of a termination notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may by regulation establish; provided, any telephone company during the pendency of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal may terminate telephone service if the amount of charges accruing and outstanding subsequent to the initiation of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal exceeds on a monthly basis the average monthly bill for the previous three months or if the customer fails to keep current his telephone account for all undisputed charges or fails to comply with any amortization agreement as hereafter provided.

(d) Any customer who has initiated a complaint or investigation under subsection (c) of this section shall be given an opportunity for review of such complaint or investigation by a review officer of the company, electric supplier or municipal utility other than a member of such company's, electric supplier's or municipal utility's credit authority, provided the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may waive this requirement for any company, electric supplier or municipal utility employing fewer than twenty-five full-time employees, which review shall include consideration of whether the customer should be permitted to amortize the unpaid balance of his account over a reasonable period of time. No termination shall be effected for any customer complying with any such amortization agreement, provided such customer also keeps current his account for utility service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.

(e) Any customer whose complaint or request for an investigation has resulted in a determination by a company, electric supplier or municipal utility which is adverse to him may appeal such determination to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or a hearing officer appointed by the authority.

(f) If, following the receipt of a termination notice or the entering into of an amortization agreement, the customer makes a payment or payments amounting to twenty per cent of the balance due, the public service company or electric supplier shall not terminate service without giving notice to the customer, in accordance with the provisions of this section, of the conditions the customer must meet to avoid termination, but such subsequent notice shall not entitle such customer to further investigation, review or appeal by the company, electric supplier, municipal utility or authority.

(g) No electric distribution, gas, telephone or water company, certified telecommunications provider, gas registrant or municipal utility furnishing electric, gas or water service shall submit to a credit rating agency, as defined in section 36a-695, any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for electric, gas, telephone, telecommunications or water service unless the customer is more than sixty days delinquent in paying for such service. In no event shall such a company, certified telecommunications provider, gas registrant or municipal utility submit to a credit rating agency any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for such service if the customer has initiated a complaint, investigation hearing or appeal with regard to such service under subsection (c) of this section that is pending before the authority. If such a company, certified telecommunications provider, gas registrant or municipal utility intends to submit to a credit rating agency information about a customer's nonpayment for service, it shall, at least thirty days before submitting such information, send the customer by first class mail notification that includes the statement, "AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, FOR RESIDENTIAL ACCOUNTS, WE SUPPLY PAYMENT INFORMATION TO CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS MORE THAN SIXTY DAYS DELINQUENT, THE DELINQUENCY REPORT COULD HARM YOUR CREDIT RATING. ".

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall conduct a performance review proceeding that includes all persons, entities or companies holding a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide community antenna television service, a certificate of cable franchise authority or a certificate of video franchise authority, as such terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of any such certificate, and to review as applicable pursuant to any such certificate issues relating to customer service, community access support, management of outages, service to handicapped and low-income customers and cooperation with the authority. After the initial review required pursuant to this section, the authority may conduct subsequent reviews at intervals of five years thereafter. Any performance review shall be limited to a review of those conditions or requirements specifically set forth in state statute. Each performance review conducted pursuant to this section shall be an uncontested case and shall include an opportunity for a public hearing. The Attorney General, the Office of Consumer Counsel and cable and certified video provider advisory councils shall be designated as participants to any such proceeding.

Sec. 10. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) Any company or nonprofit organization, including any municipality, responsible for community access operations that receives funds pursuant to subsection (k) of section 16-331a of the general statutes, may use such funds for the creation and development, including, but not limited to, labor and staff expenses, of town-specific community access programming.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Any community antenna television company or nonprofit organization providing community access operations that supplied original programming from locally run operations and provided funding to town-specific programming on January 1, 2008, shall continue to fund town-specific programming in such proportions to funding for original programming from locally run operations as of January 1, 2008. "

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2012

16-247f

Sec. 2

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 3

July 1, 2012

16-32

Sec. 4

July 1, 2012

16-247b

Sec. 5

July 1, 2012

16-247m

Sec. 6

July 1, 2012

16-256k

Sec. 7

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 8

July 1, 2012

16-262d

Sec. 9

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 10

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 11

from passage

New section