Public Advocate Files Final Arguments in Verizon Rate Case , Seeking Local Service Rate Reductions of $6 Per Month

January 26, 2007

Today, the Public Advocate filed its final arguments in a rate proceeding now before the Maine Public Utilities Commission, recommending that the Commission reduce the annual revenues of Verizon-Maine by over $42 million annually. If adopted by the PUC, the rate reduction would result in a savings of almost $6 per month per line for each Verizon residential or business local service customer. Another party to the same rate proceeding -- (AARP) – also provided evidence leading to that recommendation.

"We are hopeful that after considering the Public Advocate’s testimony and arguments, Maine's PUC will reset Verizon's local rates in a way that immediately benefits all of Verizon's customers in Maine," says Public Advocate Stephen Ward. “After nearly seven years of litigation, including two appeals to the Maine Supreme Court, the facts and argument are now finally before the Commission and we believe they justify a substantial reduction in Verizon’s rates”, said Wayne Jortner and William Black, two attorneys specializing in telecommunications issues at the Public Advocate’s office.

The brief filed today by the Public Advocate consists of 147 pages. It addresses various complex financial issues and provides support for the recommended rate reduction. It also proposes an alternative regulation plan to govern Verizon-Maine for the next five years, under terms that will be fair to both consumers and the Company. Under Maine law, Verizon is entitled to no more than a fair rate of return and consumers are entitled to just and reasonable rates.

The Public Advocate Office is an 8-person unit of state government, housed in Hallowell, whose principle duty is to represent the interests of utility consumers in proceedings before the Maine PUC, the FCC and FERC in Washington, the Legislature and the courts. For further information, visit the Public Advocate's website at www.maine.gov/meopa.


Contact: Public Advocate’s Office (William Black, Wayne Jortner or Steve Ward) 287-2445