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News Release
 
Expedited Complaint Process Ends In Roseburg
 
September 24, 1999 (1999-042)
 
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ron Karten, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) has announced an end to the expedited complaint process for customers of U S WEST Communications, Inc. in the city of Roseburg. In a September 21 letter to the company, Telecommunications Division Administrator Phil Nyegaard reported that the process would stop "effective immediately."
 
Customers will continue to have recourse for resolving service quality problems with U S WEST by calling the Commission’s Consumer Services Division at 1 800 522-2404, but customers who already have filed the expedited complaint form do not need to call again to be sure that their complaint is being processed. Although the expedited form made it easy for customers to report a problem, the process by which a credit appears on a customer’s bill can take as long as 60 days.
 
The Commission initiated the expedited process following a public hearing held in Roseburg last April. The company had failed to upgrade the Roseburg analog switch or replace it with a new digital switch with greater capacity, and customer problems were pervasive.
 
The Commission selected an expedited process to address the issue because reported customer problems covered a compact area over a fairly specific time period, and generally were caused by the company’s lack of adequate facilities. The company agreed under these circumstances that automatic credits were appropriate.
 
Nearly 1,000 customers responded with the expedited process. During the height of the Roseburg problems, the process addressed more than 60 complaints a day from customers frequently unable to make or receive phone calls.
 
The company has completed an upgrade of the existing facilities, and has pledged to install a new digital switch by the end of 2000. By the middle of September, the number of circuits busy complaints had dropped to only one or two a day.
 
 
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