WSR 98-02-003

PERMANENT RULES

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[General Order No. R-447, Docket No. UT-961295--Filed December 24, 1997, 2:16 p.m.]

In the matter of amending WAC 480-120-106 Form of bills, relating to the exemption of prepaid calling card service from the requirement to provide a bill for service.

statutory or other authority: The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission takes this action under Notice No. WSR 97-19-070, filed with the code reviser on September 15, 1997. The commission brings this proceeding pursuant to RCW 80.01.040.

statement of compliance: This proceeding complies with the Open Public Meetings Act (chapter 42.30 RCW), the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW), the State Register Act (chapter 34.08 RCW), the State Environmental Policy Act of 1971 (chapter 34.21C RCW), and the Regulatory Fairness Act (chapter 19.85 RCW).

date of adoption: The commission adopted this rule on October 29, 1997.

concise statement of purpose and effect of the rule: The proposal would exempt prepaid calling card services from billing requirements. Existing rules require a form of bill for all telecommunication services. Due to the specialized nature of prepaid calling card services, providers do not render bills to their customers. The rule was promulgated before the existence of such services and consequently does not contemplate prepaid calling card services, requirements of the rule are not appropriate for such services.

reference to affected rules: This rule amends the following section of the Washington Administrative Code: WAC 480-120-106 Form of bills, excluding prepaid calling card services from the requirement of providing a bill for service.

preproposal statement of inquiry and actions thereunder: The commission filed a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101) on May 21, 1997, at WSR 97-11-071.

additional notice and activity pursuant to preproposal statement: The statement advised interested persons that the commission was considering entering a rule making on exempting prepaid calling card services from billing requirements. The commission also informed persons of the inquiry into this matter by providing notice of the subject and the CR-101 to all persons on the commission's list of persons requesting such information pursuant to RCW 34.05.320(3). Pursuant to the notice, the commission did engage in a workshop with interested parties to discuss written comments and to reach consensus on the proposed revisions. The workshop participants included representatives from commission staff, US WEST Communications, Inc., GTE Northwest Incorporated, and Sprint Communications Company, L.P. All participants agreed that the goal of exempting prepaid calling card services from the form of bills reporting requirement is laudable, and the participants reached consensus that the proposal is appropriate.

notice of proposed rule making: The commission filed a notice of proposed rule making (CR-102) on September 15, 1997, at WSR 97-19-070. The commission scheduled this matter for oral comment and adoption under Notice No. WSR 97-19-070 at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 29, 1997, in the Commission's Hearing Room, Second Floor, Chandler Plaza Building, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA. The notice provided interested persons the opportunity to submit written comments to the commission.

commenters: The commission received written comments from US WEST Communications, Inc., Sprint Communications Company, L.P., and GTE Northwest Incorporated on the notice for proposed rule making (CR-102), WSR 97-19-070.

Commission staff incorporated revisions suggested by commenting parties in order to address privacy concerns relating to the provision of call detail reports. A prepaid calling card provider should be required to provide call detail reports for prepaid calling card services only upon provision of the prepaid calling card or copy of the card, to protect the privacy of the card holder. WAC 480-120-106(2) was therefore revised to read "and upon provision of the card or copy of the card."

rule-making hearing: The rule change was considered for adoption, pursuant to the notice, at the commission's regularly scheduled open public meeting on October 29, 1997, before Chair Anne Levinson, Commissioner Richard Hemstad, and Commissioner William R. Gillis. The commission heard oral comments from Tony Cooke, representing commission staff. No other interested person made oral comments.

FINDINGS


Upon review of the proposed rule amendments and the record in this matter, the commission is satisfied that the rule amendments are in the public interest and should be adopted and accepted. The parties are to be commended for their cooperative efforts regarding the issues in this proceeding.

the commission finds:

1. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is an agency of the state of Washington, vested by statute with authority to regulate rules, rates, regulations, practices, accounts, securities, property transfers, and mergers of public service companies.

2. On May 21, 1997, the commission initiated a rule making to address form of bill requirements for prepaid calling card services.

3. Docket No. UT-961295 is a rule amendment in WAC 480-120-106.

4. The commission held one public workshop and a hearing on the rule proposal.

5. The change incorporated in the rule after publication of the CR-102 proposed rule making, is not deemed significant. The change clarifies the language proposed but does not vary from the intent or purpose of the rule draft previously published.

6. The amended rule in WAC 480-120-106 exempts prepaid calling card services from billing requirements. Existing rules require a form of bill for all telecommunications services. Due to the specialized nature of prepaid calling card services, prepaid calling card providers do not render bills to their customers.

commission action: After considering all of the information regarding this proposal, the commission adopted the rule amendment.

changes from proposal: The commission adopted the proposal with the following changes from the text noticed at WSR 97-19-070.

Change in WAC 480-120-106. Subsection (2) is amended to add the following language, modifying the provider's obligation to provide a detailed statement of services provided through a prepaid calling card:

"and upon provision of the card or copy of the card."

statement of action; statement of effective date: In reviewing the entire record, the commission determines that WAC 480-120-106 should be amended to read as set forth in Appendix A, as a rule of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, to take effect pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2) on the thirty-first day after filing with the code reviser.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

ORDER


the commission orders:

1. WAC 480-120-106 is amended to read as set forth in Appendix A, as a rule of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, to take effect on the thirty-first day after the date of filing with the code reviser pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2).

2. This order and the rule set out below, after being recorded in the register of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, shall be forwarded to the code reviser for filing pursuant to chapters 80.01 and 34.05 RCW and chapter 1-21 WAC.

3. The commission adopts commission staff memoranda, presented when the commission considered filing a preproposal statement of inquiry, when it considered filing the formal notice of proposed rule making, and when it considered adoption of this proposal in conjunction with the text of this order, as its concise explanatory statement of the reasons for adoption, as required by RCW 34.05.025.

dated at Olympia, Washington, this 23rd day of December 1997.

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Anne Levinson, Chair

Richard Hemstad, Commissioner

William R. Gillis, Commissioner

APPENDIX "A"




AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-345, Docket No. UT-900726, filed 6/18/91, effective 7/19/91)

WAC 480-120-106 Form of bills. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, bills to subscribers shall be rendered regularly and shall clearly list all charges. Each bill shall indicate the date it becomes delinquent and notice of means by which a subscriber can contact the nearest business office of the utility.

The portion of a bill rendered by the local exchange company on behalf of itself and other companies shall clearly specify the ((alternate)) operator service ((company's)) provider's billing agent ((and, where feasible, within ninety days after the effective date of this rule)), the provider of the ((alternate)) operator services and a toll free telephone number the consumer can call to question that portion of the bill and, if appropriate, receive credit. A number may be used on this portion of the bill only if it connects the subscriber with a firm which has full authority to investigate and, if appropriate, to adjust disputed calls including a means to verify that the rates charged are correct. Consumers requesting an address or toll free telephone number of the operator service provider where they can ((write to)) question that portion of the bill shall be provided that information.

A local exchange company shall not provide billing and collection services for telecommunications service to any company not properly registered to provide service within the state of Washington, except to a billing agent that certifies to the local exchange carrier that it will submit charges only on behalf of properly registered companies. As a part of this certification the local exchange company shall require that the billing agent provide to it a current list of each telecommunications company for which it bills showing the name (as registered with the commission) and address. This list shall be updated and provided to the local exchange company as changes occur. The local exchange company shall ((in turn, upon receiving it,)) provide a copy of this list to the commission for its review ((whenever a carrier is added or deleted)) upon request.

All bills for telephone service shall identify and set out separately any access or other charges imposed by order of or at the direction of the Federal Communications Commission. In addition, all bills for telephone service within jurisdictions where taxes are applicable will clearly delineate the amount, or the percentage rate at which said tax is computed, which represents municipal occupation, business and excise taxes that have been levied by a municipality against said utility, the effect of which is passed on as a part of the charge for telephone service.

Subscribers requesting by telephone, letter or office visit an itemized statement of all charges shall be furnished same. An itemized statement is meant to include separately, the total for exchange service, mileage charges, taxes, credits, miscellaneous or special services and toll charges, the latter showing at least date, place called and charge for each call. In itemizing the charges of information providers, the utility shall furnish the name, address, telephone number and toll free number, if any, of such providers. Any additional itemization shall be at a filed tariff charge.

Upon a showing of good cause, a subscriber may request to be allowed to pay by a certain date which is not the normally designated payment date. Good cause shall include, but not be limited to, adjustment of the payment schedule to parallel receipt of income. A utility may be exempted from this adjustment requirement by the commission.

(2) Any telecommunication company's prepaid calling card services are exempt from subsection (1) of this section. Any telecommunications company for which an exemption is provided under this section shall provide call detail reports for prepaid calling card services free to customers upon request and upon provision of the card or copy of the card.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and chapter 80.36 RCW. 91-13-078 (Order R-345, Docket No. UT-900726), 480-120-106, filed 6/18/91, effective 7/19/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1988 c 91. 89-04-044 (Order R-293, Docket No. U-88-1882-R), 480-120-106, filed 1/31/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040. 85-18-011 (Order R-233, Cause No. U-85-35), 480-120-106, filed 8/23/85; 85-16-116 (Order R-234, Cause No. U-85-21), 480-120-106, filed 8/7/85; Order R-86, 480-120-106, filed 6/30/76; Order R-25, 480-120-106, filed 5/5/71. Formerly WAC 480-120-210.]

Legislature Code Reviser

Register

Washington State Code Reviser's Office