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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - Verizon Vermont exceeded service quality standards in the first year of the company's Alternative Regulation Plan in nearly all measurements. Verizon surpassed standards in the timely answering of calls to customer service centers, speed of repairs, frequency of meeting installation appointments and overall network performance and reliability. Verizon reported the annual results, the first under the new regulatory plan, in an April filing with the Vermont Public Service Board.
"These strong service quality results are the outcome of an aggressive network investment program by Verizon in 2000 and the outstanding work of our employees," said Louise McCarren, President of Verizon Vermont. "The Alternative Regulation Plan's service quality measurements are not easy to achieve, and we will continue to work very hard to turn in results like this year after year."
In 1999, the Department of Public Service and Verizon worked together to set baseline standards for Verizon's service in 12 categories. The standards, called the Retail Service Quality Plan, are part of the five-year Alternative Regulation Plan for Verizon Vermont adopted last May. If Verizon fails to meet any of these measurements, it is required to provide appropriate customer rebates. Several of the baseline standards become more challenging to achieve each year under the plan.
"These year-end results demonstrate the value of service quality monitoring in keeping attention focused on key aspects of service that have the greatest impact on consumers," said Deena Frankel, Director of Consumer Affairs for the Department of Public Service. "It has been particularly gratifying to see these positive results in areas where DPS has been talking with the company about improvements, such as the number of days it takes to install a telephone line when a spare line is not readily available."
Verizon exceeded the plan standard for dial-tone speed (how long it takes customers to get a dial tone) for 11 out of 12 months, missing the baseline standard only in one month early in the plan year. Since February 2000, Verizon Vermont's customers have received outstanding service. The company will provide a $30,000 rebate divided among those affected. Customers in the Milton, St. Albans and Underhill exchanges will receive a one-time $1.49 credit on their July bill if the Board concurs.
On a second measurement, repair center busies, Verizon has applied to the Board for a waiver with support from the Vermont Department of Public Service because the measurement was affected by an exceptional storm-related load that more than tripled normal repair center call volume.
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 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.