HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reauthorized the telephone charge residents in Chester and Warren counties pay for their local 911 systems.
Chester County, a third-class county, did not request a change to its current contribution rate of $1.25 per telephone line per month. Chester County’s 911 service area has a population of approximately 491,489. The county is served by Verizon Pennsylvania Inc., Commonwealth Telephone Co. d/b/a Frontier Communications Commonwealth Telephone Co., Conestoga Telephone and Telegraph Co. and various competitive local exchange carriers.
Warren County, a sixth-class county, also did not request a change in the current contribution rate of $1.50 per telephone line per month. Warren County’s 911 service area has a population of approximately 40,728. Verizon Pennsylvania Inc., Verizon North Inc., Windstream Pennsylvania LLC and various competitive local exchange carriers provide service in the county.
The Public Safety Emergency Telephone Act of 1990 provides for a statewide 911 emergency communication system to be administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The law allows the counties to recover the cost for 911 systems by accessing a fee on every telephone line.
Local phone companies collect the fee for the counties. Under the Act, the maximum fee that can be collected per telephone line per month is $1 for first- and second-class counties; $1.25 for third- through fifth-class counties; and $1.50 for sixth- through eighth-class counties.
The PUC reviews the contributions rates to make sure they do not exceed the allowable amount. The PUC then forwards a decision to PEMA. The PUC has 90 days to submit its recommendation to PEMA as to whether a proposed contribution rate should be approved or modified. The plan and the surcharge are effective from the date of the PUC order for a period of three years.
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 website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
Docket Nos. M-2009-2138285; M-2009-2138832