BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - In concert with the Citizens Utility Board and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Verizon today filed a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to reduce rates by $25.35 million.
If the request is approved, approximately 850,000 Verizon residential and business customers in Illinois would see savings on wireline telephone bills mailed after June 1. The average savings over the next five years could total $150 for residential customers and $90 for business customers, depending on calling patterns. In addition, Verizon has pledged not to seek a general rate increase based on terms of the agreement.
In its order approving the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic three years ago, the ICC required Verizon, among other matters, to address merger costs and savings. If the settlement announced today is approved, this request will fulfill that condition, as well as a directive to meet all 28 ICC-ordered merger conditions on time. The settlement is expected to be ruled upon by the ICC in late May.
"This settlement gives Verizon customers in Illinois immediate benefits," said James R. Hargrave, assistant vice president-public policy and external affairs for Verizon. "In addition, this agreement eliminates the significant legal and administrative costs all parties would incur under a lengthy, formal proceeding before the ICC."
Hargrave said Verizon worked with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Citizens Utility Board and other interested parties for nearly a year to develop the agreement.
In its request, the company has proposed to reduce local calling rates in three phases over the next 18 months.
As part of the filing, the company also will reduce by $2.2 million the switched access rates it charges carriers annually to connect to Verizon's networks. This will further promote competition and additional access to Verizon's network. In addition, these reductions may mean additional savings in long-distance rates that other carriers charge.
This proposed rate reduction is a continuation of a series of benefits Verizon customers have enjoyed since the 2000 approval of the merger. Verizon also has:
- Reduced rates by $10.03 million in July 2000.
- Offered a 15-mile Extended Area Calling Plan and a per-call pricing option.
- Met or exceeded all ICC service quality standards for the past 50 consecutive months.
- Reduced customer complaints by 34 percent since 2000.
- Completed all 28 ICC-ordered merger conditions on time.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.