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News Release
Press Advisory - U S WEST Quarterly Review Meeting
November 19, 1999 (1999-050)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Phil Nyegaard, Telecommunications Administrator, 503-378-6436
The Oregon Public Utility Commission will hold its quarterly service quality review meeting with U S WEST, Monday, November 22, in the Main Hearing Room of the Public Utility Commission Building, 550 Capitol St. N.E., Salem, OR 97301.
Because of the company’s continuing service quality problems, U S WEST is required to make monthly reports to the Commission on its compliance with service quality standards. The Commission meets with the company each quarter to review the results. Monday’s meeting will cover the July-September quarter.
Some issues that are likely to be discussed:
  1. Continued failure to meet the standards for Access to the Oregon Business Office.

    The standard is that 85% of calls to the business office are answered within 20 seconds. In the past two years U S WEST has met the standard only once (July, 1998). Since April of 1999, performance has steadily declined to the level of less than 40% in September.
  2. Continued failure to meet the standard for Trouble Reports at Wire Centers.

    U S WEST has 77 wire centers. The standard for each one is no more than 2 trouble reports per wire center on a 12 month rolling average. Only 21 wire centers out of the 77 comply.

    Since the standards were established nearly three years ago, January, 1997, U S WEST has never met the standards for more than half of its lines. However, the 21 wire centers that did meet those standards in September is the highest level of compliance the company has achieved since the standard took effect.

  3. U S WEST’s claim that the Legislature intended the Commission to reduce service quality standards.

    In SB 622, the Legislature required the Commission to review its service quality rules and to establish new minimum service quality standards. It also allowed U S WEST to choose a form of regulation free from any price regulation based on rate-of –return. In the event a company chooses such regulation, the Legislature also established service quality levels, lower than the existing standards, for which a company could be automatically fined, rather than the Commission having to go to court to seek fines.

    In comments to the Commission on the service quality rules, U S WEST maintains that the lower standards for a company choosing the alternative regulation should now become the highest standards required and that the minimum service quality standards for all other companies should be even lower than that. The result is that U S WEST’s current level of poor service becomes the benchmark for quality. And instead of U S WEST improving service up to the level of other companies in Oregon, the other companies would be allowed to provide even lower service quality than U S WEST.
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