PUC Approves Settlement with Verizon Pennsylvania Relating to Improper Service Suspensions and Terminations
Published on 5/12/2022
Filed under: Telecommunications
Settlement Revises Verizon’s Customer Notification Procedures Related to Service Suspensions & Terminations and Assesses Civil Penalty
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a Joint Petition for Approval of Settlement between Verizon Pennsylvania LLC (Verizon PA) and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E), following I&E’s informal investigation into alleged improper telephone service suspension and terminations by the company, including alleged service terminations without providing proper customer notifications.
The Commission voted 3-0 to adopt the settlement agreement between Verizon PA and I&E – which began an informal investigation based upon multiple informal complaints received by the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) alleging the following violations by the company between March 13, 2020, and March 24, 2021:
- Verizon PA improperly suspended telephone service for bill nonpayment and during the company’s ongoing retirement of copper wire and installation of fiber optics during this time period – all of which occurred during the Commission’s termination moratorium on utility services under PUC jurisdiction (Docket No. M-2020-3019244).
- Verizon PA improperly suspended or terminated service to certain customers without proper notice, in violation of the Public Utility Code.
Under the conditions of the settlement, Verizon PA agrees to the following:
- The company will generally continue to work with I&E and BCS to modify/edit its suspension and termination notification letters, as future circumstances require, relating to the retirement of copper wire and installation of fiber optics.
- In particular, the company has and will continue to work with I&E and BCS to modify/edit the notification letters, as future circumstances require, sent to multiple dwelling units and their tenants and the notification letters sent to health care facilities and their tenants relating to copper retirement, to ensure compliance with the Public Utility Code and the Commission’s regulations and clarity on the intention and ramifications of the letters.
- The company will pay a civil penalty of $30,000 that is not tax deductible or able to be passed through as an additional charge to Verizon PA’s customers in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No.: M-2022-3024130
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