CPUC Bows to Industry Wishes, Leaving Consumers Out in the Cold

Today’s CPUC decision giving Verizon, AT&T and other large phone companies carte blanche to raise rates is bad news for consumers.

For Immediate Release From The Utility Reform Network

TURN, California’s leading utility consumer representative, warned today that rate hikes will surely follow the decision, and that business and residential consumers will have little recourse when that happens.

"The CPUC has left consumers defenseless against higher phone rates," said TURN executive director Bob Finkelstein. "Their provision for a two-year rate cap for residential customers doesn’t mean consumers won’t be left out in the cold, but merely that some won’t be thrown to the wolves for another two years. Business customers are likely to feel the chilling effects of phone deregulation immediately."

Finkelstein said low-income customers, rural consumers and seniors will be especially harmed by today’s decision. "Whatever phone competition exists in California is competition for big users of multiple services. No one is competing to provide basic service to underprivileged communities, and this decision will do nothing to encourage phone companies to serve those communities."