The state Public Regulation Commission unanimously passed two orders Tuesday that have positive implications for Qwest customers and their pocketbooks.Las Cruces Sun-News - PRC orders Qwest phone rates frozen; dictates refunds
As a result of the orders:
Qwest's rates for regular residential and business lines won't increase for the next three years.
Qwest will no longer charge customers $85 when company technicians discover that a phone-line problem is the customer's and not the company's.
The company will have to refund $3.6 million to customers in the form of credits for failure to comply with quality-of-service standards.
One of the orders concerned the commission's second regulation agreement with Qwest, the first of which has been the subject of ongoing litigation between the commission and the company. In that agreement, Qwest promised to invest $788 million in the state's telecommunications system over five years, but came up $224 million short.
SANTA FE — The state Public Regulation Commission has frozen basic telephone rates for Qwest customers for three years and ordered the telecommunications giant to refund a total of $3.6 million to residential customers as a credit on their February bills.
The refund, which Commissioner Jason Marks estimated will run between $5 and $6, was ordered Tuesday because of Qwest's failure to comply with quality-of-service standards.
Basic telephone service costs $13.50 a month for homes and $34.37 a month for businesses, not including taxes and other fees, Qwest said.
The PRC will allow the company to increase rates, equal to the rate of inflation, for other services.
The order also gives Qwest the right to decrease prices with a day's notice. Currently, the company has to file price decreases with the PRC, which then has to approve them. Marks said that gives Qwest's competitors a chance to react.
Gary Younger, a spokesman for Qwest, said company officials will review the order. However, he said it appeared commissioners recognized competition in New Mexico.
"Regulations that reflect the competitive environment benefit all consumers and strengthen New Mexico's telecommunications infrastructure,"