HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment a settlement with Verizon Pennsylvania Inc. that ends an informal investigation into the company’s customer service.
The Commission voted 5-0 to accept comments on the proposed settlement agreement, which includes additional reporting requirements, implementation goals for Verizon PA to improve customer service and $500,000 for targeted infrastructure improvements.
On June 29, 2007, the PUC’s independent Prosecutory Staff initiated an informal investigation into Verizon PA’s compliance with Commission rules governing quality of telephone service standards. The Prosecutory Staff findings showed that over two years the company failed to have 85 percent of calls to its business offices or call centers answered within 20 seconds. The PUC Bureau of Consumer Services also logged 726 informally verified infractions of Commission regulations and policies by the company in 2006 and 1,002 in 2007.
According to the proposed settlement, Verizon PA will:
- Reduce the number of informally verified infractions by 50 percent to no more than 432 on an annual basis.
- Report to the Commission the percentage of calls answered within 30 seconds, the average “busy-out rate” and the call abandonment rate. The busy-out rate represents those attempted calls that received a busy signal or a message that they were not "received" by the company because the company lines were at capacity.
- Place $500,000 into a separate account to be used for targeted infrastructure projects in 2009. Eligible projects include those that will likely reduce the number of out-of-service trouble reports in areas not otherwise scheduled for infrastructure upgrades.
Interested parties have 20 days from the entry of the order to file comments with the Commission.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our Web site at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Docket No. M-2008-2077881