Bell Atlantic Pennsylvania Response to Rate Rebalancing Poll

Bell Atlantic Pennsylvania Response to Rate Rebalancing

November 14, 1996

Media contacts:

Sharon Shaffer 215-963-6843


Background: The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted
today in a non-binding poll on 16 elements of Bell
Atlantic-Pennsylvania's proposal to restructure rates. Chairman Quain
summarized the polling of this very complex filing by saying that there
would be no rate increases for residential customers. However, the PUC
did support eliminating the Touch Tone rate for residential and business
customers, charging fees for late payment of phone bills, the
introduction of a new optional local usage service for metropolitan
customers, and other initiatives. The following statement may be
attributed to William J. Mitchell, vice president - external affairs,
Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania:

We are disappointed that the PUC didn't recognize the need to
rebalance rates. This means that thousands of Pennsylvania customers
will miss out on opportunities to save each month on their telephone
bills. It also means that high rates for some services will continue
to subsidize local service in many parts of the state. Even with the
modest increases proposed, telephone service is the best buy in town.
As they have for years, rural customers are paying less than urban
customers for the same kind of local telephone service.

The Pennsylvania market already is competitive. Seven companies are
approved to provide local telephone service, and eight more are
waiting in the wings. In a competitive environment like
Pennsylvania's, prices must reflect the actual cost of providing the
service. This is a guiding principle in the Telecommunications Act,
and it is sound public policy. We urge the PUC to adopt final
policies that encourage open, fair competition among local telephone
service providers across the Commonwealth, placing no carrier at a
distinct disadvantage.