HOUSE BILL NO. 2546
AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE
C 170 L 90
State of Washington 51st Legislature 1990 Regular Session
By Representatives Phillips, Hankins, Nelson, May, R. Meyers, Miller, Jacobsen, Brooks, Todd, Anderson, Jesernig and Jones
Read first time 1/15/90 and referred to Committee on Energy & Utilities.
AN ACT Relating to continuation of the Washington telephone assistance program; amending RCW 80.04.130, 80.36.420, 80.36.430, 80.36.440, 80.36.460, and 80.36.470; amending section 12, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 (uncodified); adding a new section to chapter 80.36 RCW; repealing RCW 80.36.480; and providing an expiration date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. Section 13, chapter 101, Laws of 1989 and RCW 80.04.130 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Whenever any public service company shall file with the commission any schedule, classification, rule or regulation, the effect of which is to change any rate, charge, rental or toll theretofore charged, the commission shall have power, either upon its own motion or upon complaint, upon notice, to enter upon a hearing concerning such proposed change and the reasonableness and justness thereof, and pending such hearing and the decision thereon the commission may suspend the operation of such rate, charge, rental or toll for a period not exceeding ten months from the time the same would otherwise go into effect, and after a full hearing the commission may make such order in reference thereto as would be provided in a hearing initiated after the same had become effective. The commission shall not suspend a tariff that makes a decrease in a rate, charge, rental, or toll filed by a telecommunications company pending investigation of the fairness, justness, and reasonableness of the decrease when the filing does not contain any offsetting increase to another rate, charge, rental, or toll and the filing company agrees to not file for an increase to any rate, charge, rental, or toll to recover the revenue deficit that results from the decrease for a period of one year. The filing company shall file with any decrease sufficient information as the commission by rule may require to demonstrate the decreased rate, charge, rental, or toll is above the long run incremental cost of the service. A tariff decrease that results in a rate that is below long run incremental cost, or is contrary to commission rule or order, or the requirements of this chapter, shall be rejected for filing and returned to the company. The commission may prescribe a different rate to be effective on the prospective date stated in its final order after its investigation, if it concludes based on the record that the originally filed and effective rate is unjust, unfair, or unreasonable.
The commission may suspend the initial tariff filing of any water company removed from and later subject to commission jurisdiction because of the number of customers or the average annual gross revenue per customer provisions of RCW 80.04.010. The commission may allow temporary rates during the suspension period. These rates shall not exceed the rates charged when the company was last regulated. Upon a showing of good cause by the company, the commission may establish a different level of temporary rates.
(2) At any hearing involving any change in any schedule, classification, rule or regulation the effect of which is to increase any rate, charge, rental or toll theretofore charged, the burden of proof to show that such increase is just and reasonable shall be upon the public service company.
(3) The implementation of mandatory local measured telecommunications service is a major policy change in available telecommunications service. The commission shall not accept for filing or approve, prior to June 1, 1993, a tariff filed by a telecommunications company which imposes mandatory local measured service on any customer or class of customers, except that, upon finding that it is in the public interest, the commission may accept for filing and approve a tariff that imposes mandatory measured service for a telecommunications company's extended area service or foreign exchange service. This subsection does not apply to land, air, or marine mobile service, or to pay telephone service, or to any service which has been traditionally offered on a measured service basis.
implementation of ((
lifeline)) Washington telephone assistance
program service is a major policy change in available telecommunications
service. The implementation of (( lifeline)) Washington telephone
assistance program service will aid in achieving the stated goal of
universal telephone service.
Sec. 2. Section 4, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 and RCW 80.36.420 are each amended to read as follows:
assistance)) The Washington telephone assistance program shall be
available to participants of department programs set forth in RCW 80.36.470.
(( Lifeline)) Assistance shall consist of the following
(1) A discount on service connection fees of fifty percent or more as set forth in RCW 80.36.460.
(2) A waiver of deposit requirements on local exchange service, as set forth in RCW 80.36.460.
discounted flat rate ((
lifeline)) service (( rate)) for local
exchange service, which shall be subject to the following conditions:
commission shall establish a single ((
lifeline service)) telephone
assistance rate for all local exchange companies operating in the state of
Washington. The (( lifeline service)) telephone assistance rate
shall include any federal end user access charges and any other charges
necessary to obtain local exchange service.
commission shall, in establishing the ((
lifeline service)) telephone
assistance rate, consider all charges for local exchange service, including
federal end user access charges, mileage charges, extended area service, and
any other charges necessary to obtain local exchange service.
(c) The ((
service)) telephone assistance rate shall only be available to
eligible customers subscribing to the lowest available local exchange flat rate
service, where the lowest local exchange flat rate, including any federal end
user access charges and any other charges necessary to obtain local exchange
service, is greater than the (( lifeline service)) telephone
assistance rate. Low-income senior citizens sixty years of age and
older and other low-income persons identified by the department as medically
needy shall, where single-party service is available, be provided with
single-party service as the lowest available local exchange flat rate service.
cost of providing the ((
lifeline)) service shall be paid, to the maximum
extent possible, by a waiver of all or part of the federal end user access
charge and, to the extent necessary, from the (( lifeline)) telephone
assistance fund created by RCW 80.36.430.
Sec. 3. Section 5, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 and RCW 80.36.430 are each amended to read as follows:
associated with lifeline telephone service)) The Washington telephone
assistance program shall be (( recovered through)) funded by a
(( lifeline surcharge)) telephone assistance excise tax on all (( other))
switched access lines and by funds from any federal government or other
programs for this purpose. Switched access lines are defined in RCW 82.14B.020.
The (( lifeline surcharge)) telephone assistance excise tax shall
be applied equally to all residential and business access lines not to exceed
(( sixteen)) fourteen cents per month. (( The surcharge
collected by the telecommunications companies shall not be construed as gross
income or gross receipts for purposes of state, county or municipal public
utility taxes.)) The telephone assistance excise tax shall be
separately identified on each ratepayer's bill as the "Washington
telephone assistance program." All money collected from the (( lifeline
surcharge)) telephone assistance excise tax shall be transferred to
a (( lifeline)) telephone assistance fund administered by the
department. Local exchange companies shall bill the fund for their expenses
incurred in offering (( lifeline telecommunications services)) the
telephone assistance program, including administrative and program
expenses. The department shall disburse the money to the local exchange
companies. The department is exempted from having to conclude a contract
with local exchange companies in order to effect this reimbursement. The
department shall recover its administrative costs from the fund. The
department may specify by rule the range and extent of administrative and
program expenses that will be reimbursed to local exchange companies.
Sec. 4. Section 6, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 and RCW 80.36.440 are each amended to read as follows:
commission and the department may adopt any rules necessary to implement RCW
80.36.410 through ((
Sec. 5. Section 8, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 and RCW 80.36.460 are each amended to read as follows:
exchange companies shall file tariffs with the commission which waive deposits
on local exchange service for eligible subscribers and which establish a fifty
percent discount on service connection fees for eligible subscribers. Part
or all of the remaining fifty percent of service connection fees may be paid by
funds from federal government or other programs for this purpose. The
commission or other appropriate agency shall make timely application for any
available federal funds. The remaining portion of the connection fee to be
paid by the subscriber shall be expressly payable by installment fees spread
over a period of months. A subscriber may, however, choose to pay the
connection fee in a lump sum. Costs associated with the waiver and discount
shall be accounted for separately and recovered from the ((
assistance fund. Eligible subscribers shall be allowed one waiver of a
deposit and one discount on service connection fees per year.
Sec. 6. Section 9, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 and RCW 80.36.470 are each amended to read as follows:
in the following department programs are eligible for lifeline assistance:
Aid to families with dependent children, chore services, food stamps,
supplemental security income, refugee assistance, and community options program
entry system (COPES).)) Adult recipients of department-administered
programs for the financially needy which provide continuing financial or
medical assistance, food stamps, or supportive services to persons in their own
homes are eligible for participation in the telephone assistance program. The
department shall notify the participants of their eligibility.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. A new section is added to chapter 80.36 RCW to read as follows:
The department shall report to the energy and utilities committees of the house of representatives and the senate by December 1 of each year on the status of the Washington telephone assistance program. The report shall include the number of participants by qualifying social service programs receiving benefits from the telephone assistance program and the type of benefits participants receive. The report shall also include a description of the geographical distribution of participants, the program's annual revenue and expenditures, and any recommendations for legislative action.
Sec. 8. Section 12, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 (uncodified) is amended to read as follows:
80.36.410 through ((
80.36.480)) 80.36.470 shall expire June 30,
(( 1990)) 1993, unless extended by the legislature.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. Section 10, chapter 229, Laws of 1987 and RCW 80.36.480 are each repealed.