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Nov 15, 2001

P.U.C. chairman says it will challenge BTL rate hike

Story PictureTonight
there’s a glimmer of hope for hard pressed consumers saddled with BTL’s
punitive new rate structure. When interviewed over the phone on Wednesday,
Public Utilities Commission Chairman Gilly Canton told News 5 that the
P.U.C. had its hands tied by the terms of BTL’s 1988 monopoly license
and could not intervene to stop the rate hikes. Today, however, Canton
reports that once the new prices come into effect on December first if
there is enough public outcry, the Commission will have the grounds to
act.

Dr. Gilly Canton, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission
“What B.T.L. is doing at this point is actually following those procedures
set out in their license of the telecommunications act of how rates are
set. The P.U.C.’s intervention into this whole process is through a complaint
procedure. Once these rates are in, or are said to be effective…B.T.L.
is saying December the first, if a complaint is filed with the Public Utilities
Commission, then the Public Utilities Commission is required to hold a hearing.
And based on the outcome of that hearing, if it comes out that the rates
are not justifiable, are not fair and reasonable, then the Public Utilities
Commission can fix by order the rates and hold those rates in place.

We can say, BTL, this is the rate we want you to adhere to from now
on. That is if the hearings come out to say the rates are not fair and
reasonable. It may come out, yes they are fair and reasonable.

In my view, I would think that B.T.L., would have, knowing that the
commission does have these abilities, in terms of through the complaint
procedure, to open up a hearing and to look at these rates, they would
have thought it prudent to come in and work with the commission beforehand
to make sure that these rates are justifiable, or whatever, but they chose
not to do that. They chose to have the minimum amount of notification,
which is fourteen days to the office of telecommunications and to the
government, which leaves a very small window of time to take a hard look
at these rates.

B.T.L. will have the right to go ahead and query it and if they don’t
get any satisfaction from working directly with us, then they always have
the recourse of going through the courts. That is their legal right.”

Anyone who is unhappy with the new prices proposed by BTL is urged
to please send their objections to the Public Utilities Commission at
fax number: 02-71149 or by email at puc@btl.net.
According to Dr. Canton, all the complaints received will be registered
and catalogued to be used in any formal hearings conducted on the new
rates.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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