November 4, 1996
Sharon Shaffer (215) 963-6200|
Shirley Risoldi (412) 633-5574
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- For the third year in a row, Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania will lower some business and residential telephone rates and access charges paid by long-distance companies, reductions that will save $13 million for four million customers, the company said today.
The rate reductions, which are subject to the approval of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), are the result of low inflation and progressive state regulations that allow the company to operate more efficiently. Regulations enacted in 1994 by the PUC have enabled the company to reduce charges by $5.9 million in 1995, $1 million in 1996 and the current proposal for a $13 million reduction. These yearly reductions will have saved Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania customers $33 million by the end of next year.
Long-distance companies will enjoy reductions of $6.5 million in access charges -- the rates they pay to complete calls through the Bell Atlantic network.
"We hope AT&T, MCI and Sprint will keep their promise to share that $6.5 million in access charge reductions with all their customers," said William Harral, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania. "We'll be watching. In the past, these companies have either pocketed the savings or shared them only with their most lucrative customers."
In addition to the cuts in access charges, the Bell Atlantic proposal filed today with the PUC offers reductions in the following areas:
- Lower prices to establish phone service with Bell Atlantic. The cost of connecting or moving residential service will drop $5, from $40 to $35. "This proposal could make connecting to our network easier for many customers," Harral said.
- Lower prices for certain business services. Some business customers will see rate reductions in usage options of over $2.6 million.
"We hope to share these reductions with our customers starting Jan. 1, 1997," Harral said. "We're confident the PUC will agree with our proposed savings plan."
Under the plan approved by the PUC in 1994, the company may ask the PUC once a year to approve price changes based on the rate of inflation. "Since inflation was low for the past 12 months, we are asking the PUC for approval to decrease some of our rates," Harral said.
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.