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PDFWAC 480-120-194

Publication of proposed tariff changes to increase charges or restrict access to services.

Each company offering intrastate telecommunications service under tariff must publish all proposed changes to its tariff for at least thirty days, as required by RCW 80.36.110. For any proposed tariff change that would increase recurring or per-occurrence charges or restrict access to services (e.g., discontinue a service, or limit access to service by imposing a new usage level on existing services), a company must fulfill the requirements of subsection (1), (2), or (3) of this section. For any other proposed tariffs, the company must fulfill the requirements of WAC 480-120-195. The company will not be required to accomplish publication under this section if it has agreed to suspend its tariff filing and to provide notice as provided under WAC 480-120-197.
(1) Thirty-day notice to individual customers. To comply under this method, the company must, at least thirty days before the stated effective date of the proposed change, mail the posting to each customer that would be affected by the proposed change. The posting must include the information listed in subsection (4) of this section.
(2) Published notice. To comply under this method, the company must, at least thirty days before the stated effective date of the proposed change, publish notice of the proposed change within the geographical areas where it offers service. To meet minimum publication requirements, a company must:
(a) Distribute copies of the published notice to community agencies and organizations in the geographic area where the company offers service for posting and publication by the agency or organization. The company must include in its distribution list any agency or organization that requests these notices;
(b) Cause to be printed in large print, as a paid advertisement, a complete copy of the published notice in the daily newspaper of general circulation with the greatest number of subscribers in each geographic area or each of the areas affected by the proposed tariff;
(c) Provide to the news editor of every newspaper, television station, and radio station, in the geographic area within which it offers service a news release or public service announcement summarizing the published notice. The release or announcement must include a toll-free number that customers can use to obtain more information from the company. The commission will maintain a list of area newspapers, television and radio stations and will provide it on request to any company; and
(d) Post a complete copy of the published notice on an Internet web site accessible to the public using generally available browser software.
(3) Reduced publication with shortened notice to individual customers. To comply under this method, the company must:
(a) Mail the posting to each customer that would be affected by the proposed change at least fifteen days before the stated effective date of the proposed change;
(b) At the time of the company's filing with the commission, distribute copies of the published notice in the same manner as provided in subsection (2)(a) of this section;
(c) At the time of the company's filing with the commission, provide news media notice in the same manner as provided in subsection (2)(c) of this section; and
(d) At the time of the company's filing with the commission, post a complete copy of the published notice in the same manner as provided in subsection (2)(d) of this section.
(4) Content of postings. The published notice required by this rule must include, when applicable:
(a) The date the notice is issued;
(b) The company's name and address;
(c) A brief explanation of the reason(s) the company has requested the rate change (e.g., increase in labor costs, recovery of new plant investment, and increased office expenses, such as postage and customer billing);
(d) A comparison of current and proposed rates by service;
(e) An example showing the monthly increase of the average customer's bill based on the proposed rates (e.g., "based on the proposed rates, a typical telephone customer using an average of twenty minutes of local toll service would see an average monthly increase of $0.85.");
(f) When the rates will be billed (i.e., monthly or bimonthly);
(g) The requested effective date and, if different, the implementation date;
(h) A statement that the commission has the authority to set final rates that may vary from the company's request, which may be either higher or lower depending on the results of the investigation;
(i) A description of how customers may contact the company if they have specific questions or need additional information about the proposal; and
(j) Public involvement language. A company may choose from:
(i) Commission-suggested language that is available from the commission's designated public affairs officer; or
(ii) Company-developed language that must include the commission's mailing address, toll-free number, and docket number, if known, and a brief explanation of:
(A) How to participate in the commission's process by mailing or faxing a letter, or submitting an email; and
(B) How to contact the commission for process questions or to be notified of the scheduled open meeting at which the proposal will be considered by the commission.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 80.04.180. WSR 02-11-081 (Docket No. U-991301, General Order No. R-498), ยง 480-120-194, filed 5/14/02, effective 6/17/02.]
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