Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Southwestern Bell Requests Delay on Rate Hearing

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Southwestern Bell Requests Delay on Rate Hearing

Article excerpt

An indefinite delay has been requested by Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. for a hearing on its proposed test of a new way to compute telephone charges, it was reported Monday.

Opponents apparently have managed to get the hearing on the test delayed at least 90 days - and possibly indefinitely, said Betsy Carr, Oklahoma Corporation Commission staff attorney.

Corporation commissioners are expected to grant the delay today in a hearing on the opponents' motion, said Carr. The hearing on the proposed test is scheduled Dec. 1.

"Because everyone involved has requested a continuance, I'd be very surprised if the commission didn't grant it," Carr said. "Other telephone companies requested 90-day continuances last week, and Southwestern Bell filed a motion (Monday) to continue indefinitely."

The rate test proposal would replace flat telephone rates now in use in Alex, Fort Gibson, Muskogee and parts of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, by basing charges on an area of service selected by the user, the number of calls made and the locations called.

Bell initially opposed the requests for delay "because it believed it could provide sufficient information to these telephone companies prior to the hearing to satisfy their concerns," the motion filed Monday stated.

However, dissatisfaction with the plan also was expressed by Bell customers in public meetings where the test was to be conducted, adding incentive for Southwestern Bell to delay the hearing, Bell said in its motion.

In Oklahoma City the test was to have been limited to customers whose phone numbers begin with 630, 631, 632, 634, 636, 720, 721, 722, and 728.

A meeting of customers in the Oklahoma City affected area was to be conducted Monday night in spite of the possible delay of the hearing, according to Kerry Hibbs, Bell spokesman.

"We didn't have time to notify the people we had invited," he said.

At the public meetings, according to Bell's motion, the telephone firm learned that its customers desire more information about the personalized calling plan than Bell will be able to provide before the Dec. …

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