An Act To Clarify Telecommunications Regulation Reform
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §116, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §1, is further amended to read:
(1) In the case of all utilities except telephone utilities, revenues derived from filed rates;
(2) In the case of a telephone utility, all intrastate revenues, whether or not such rates are required to be filed pursuant to this Title; and
(3) In the case of a qualified telecommunications provider, all intrastate revenues except revenues derived from sale or resale.
For purposes of this section, "qualified telecommunications provider" means a provider of person that provides interconnected voice over Internet protocol service that paid any assessment under this subsection, whether voluntarily, by agreement with the commission or otherwise, prior to March 1, 2012 over facilities that it, or an affiliated company, owns or leases.
Sec. 2. 35-A MRSA §7104, sub-§3, ¶D, as amended by PL 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §14, is further amended to read:
Sec. 3. 35-A MRSA §7104, sub-§3, ¶G, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §14, is amended to read:
Sec. 4. 35-A MRSA §7104, sub-§3, ¶H is enacted to read:
Sec. 5. 35-A MRSA §7104, sub-§9 is enacted to read:
Sec. 6. 35-A MRSA §7221, sub-§2, ¶A is enacted to read:
Sec. 7. 35-A MRSA §7222, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 623, Pt. A, §18, is amended to read:
§ 7222. Revenue requirements of service providers
The initial rates for provider of last resort service are those rates in effect for basic local exchange service for each incumbent local exchange carrier in the service area of that carrier as of January 1, 2012.
(1) An annual report for the test year;
(2) Expenses, revenues and rate base during the test year, itemized by account number or functional grouping;
(3) Uncollectible revenues for the test year, including bad debt expenses, gross write-offs and recoveries of prior write-offs;
(4) The number of units of service billed for each rate element of service;
(5) Local service revenues, all toll service revenues and miscellaneous revenues for the test year;
(6) A statement of the service provider's revenue requirement for the test year; and
(7) A proposed schedule of provider of last resort service rates that meet the requirements of subsection 2.
For the purposes of this paragraph, "test year" means the most recent complete calendar year.
This bill limits the amount of funds a provider of provider of last resort service can receive from the state universal service fund. The bill establishes a procedure for the Public Utilities Commission to conduct an emergency rate case in response to a petition for a temporary increase in rates.
This bill provides that the Public Utilities Commission may not reassign the provider of last resort service obligation without the consent of the current service provider unless that provider is unable to provide the service in accordance with state law. This bill provides that the rate charged to customers for provider of last resort service must be uniform throughout the State for a service provider, must be within 2 standard deviations of the national average and may not be set at a level that will jeopardize the receipt of federal funding to support telecommunications services.
This bill amends the section of law related to the assessment to fund the Public Utilities Commission and the Office of the Public Advocate to include all utilities that were included prior to the enactment of Public Law 2011, chapter 623. It expands the assessment to include a person that provides voice over Internet protocol service over facilities that it, or an affiliated company, owns or leases, regardless of whether that service provider paid the assessment prior to March 1, 2012.
This bill is reported out by the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology pursuant to Public Law 2011, chapter 623, Part A, section 25 and Part D, section 7. As required by the public law, the Public Utilities Commission submitted to the committee a report to create a framework for establishing rates for provider of last resort service and a report regarding assessments paid by voice service providers on January 15, 2013.
The Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology has not taken a position on the substance of this bill and by reporting this bill out the committee is not suggesting and does not intend to suggest that it agrees or disagrees with any aspect of this bill. The committee is reporting the bill out for the sole purpose of turning the issues raised in the Public Utilities Commission's reports into a printed bill that can be referred to the committee for an appropriate public hearing and subsequent processing in the normal course. The committee is taking this action to ensure clarity and transparency in the legislative review of the framework for setting the rates for provider of last resort service.