Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hearing on Bell's Rate Case Complaint Set Today

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hearing on Bell's Rate Case Complaint Set Today

Article excerpt

By Ronda Fears

Journal Record Staff Reporter

A complaint by Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. about the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's deliberations in its pending rate case is set for hearing today before the panel.

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Susan Loving on Wednesday was drafting an answer to Gov. David Walters' plea the day before for a negotiated settlement in the politically charged rate case. Gerald Adams, spokesman for Loving's office, said the reply likely would not be ready until today.

Loving's office is a party in the rate case, representing ratepayers, as does the commission.

No response to the governor's entreaty was made by the commission directly, but commission Chairman Bob Anthony said Wednesday that he would not approve a settlement unless it was fair to ratepayers.

At issue is a pending recommendation to the commission that would cut Bell's rates by $39 million to $84 million and make the company refund $58 million to $114 million to Oklahoma ratepayers.

Also, Bell would have to make $84 million in network modernizations in rural Oklahoma over a fivear period. Rates on several services would be reduced, but not basic rates.

Corporation commission members _ Anthony, J.C. Watts Jr. and Cody Graves _ are presently deliberating the rate case, aiming to reach a decision before Aug. 7, when the interim reduction in Bell's rate of return on equity expires.

Anthony said Wednesday that he will issue a proposed draft order in the case for consideration. He also noted that the commission could extend the interim rate reduction, which has been done at least once so far.

"Although all three commissioners have asked the many parties to this case to try to reach a settlement, our duty is to reach a fair decision. I will not approve a settlement unless it is fair to the ratepayers," Anthony said in a news release.

"Threats of appeal should not cause the commission to neglect the rights of ratepayers or other parties in the case."

At the hearing today, Bell will assert that commission staff who prosecuted the rate case and agrued related matters before commission members should not assist the commission in its deliberations of the case. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.