The Michigan Public Service Commission (“Commission”) issued the following Orders at its regularly scheduled meeting held on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. at the Commission’s temporary offices located at 4300 West Saginaw, Lansing, Michigan.

Case No. U-11756                                                                                                                          Remand from FCC

Michigan Pay Telephone Association et al. v Ameritech Michigan and GTE North Incorporated

http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/viewcase.php?casenum=11756

On March 6, 2014, the Michigan Public Service Commission (“Commission”) clarifying its December 6, 2013 Order (“December 6 Order”) issued in response to a February 27, 2013 remand from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), in which the FCC determined that the Commission erred by failing to explain how rates for the payphone services offered by AT&T Michigan are consistent with the new services test (“NST”), under which local exchange carriers, such as AT&T, are required to price network services on levels set at the forward-looking direct cost of service plus a just and reasonable overhead.

In the December 6 Order, the Commission found “that AT&T’s overhead allocation for toll service was not cost-based and that AT&T had not met its burden to properly justify the use of toll service as a comparable service, and ultimately was not in compliance with the FCC’s NST. The Commission further found that the new local usage rate of $0.0190176 per message to each independent payphone providers (“IPPs”) was NST compliant and lower than those previously charged by AT&T. The Commission determined that the difference between the new effective local usage rates and those previously charged by AT&T should be refunded to each IPP beginning April 15, 1997, and continuing until AT&T ceased payphone service in Michigan.”

On January 6, 2014, the Michigan Pay Telephone Association (“MPTA”) filed a motion for clarification, or in the alternative, petition for rehearing, requesting that the Commission alleviate any confusion and clarify: (1) whether IPPs are entitled to interest on refunds; and (2) whether the Commission meant to refund to each IPP or only to IPPs named in the original complaint. The Commission agreed that clarification was warranted and ordered that the December 6 Order should include interest as part of AT&T Michigan’s total refund obligation amount; and, the methodology for calculating the interest obligation and whether refunds should be limited to named-member complainants should be negotiated during the mediation process as provided in the order issued concurrently to this one.

Case No. U-11756                                                                                                                          Remand from FCC

Michigan Pay Telephone Association et al. v Ameritech Michigan and GTE North Incorporated

http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/viewcase.php?casenum=11756

On March 6, 2014, the Michigan Public Service Commission (“Commission”) issued an Order establishing a method for handling disputes occurring from its December 6, 2013 Order (as clarified on March 6, 2013) issued in response to a February 27, 2013 remand from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), in which the FCC determined that the Commission erred by failing to explain how rates for the payphone services offered by AT&T Michigan are consistent with the new services test (“NST”), under which local exchange carriers, such as AT&T, are required to price network services on levels set at the forward-looking direct cost of service plus a just and reasonable overhead.

Specifically, in the December 6 Order, the Commission found that the appropriate local usage rate of $0.0190176 per message should apply to each independent payphone provider from April 15, 1997, until the date that AT&T ceased payphone service in Michigan. AT&T was ordered to file a report in this docket that detailed the date that it ceased payphone service in Michigan and the amount by which its local usage rate exceeded the ceiling to each provider calculated pursuant to the new services test as set out in the December 6 Order. On January 6, 2014, AT&T filed its confidential refund report. AT&T stated in its filing that the company had ceased its payphone operations by September 2010 and therefore the full potential refund report covered the period of April 15, 1997 to September 2010. AT&T, however, contends that it only has actual usage data for IPPs for April 2001 through September 2010. AT&T further claims that non- Michigan Pay Telephone Association (“MPTA”) members and MPTA members not named in the complaint are not entitled to refunds and are therefore excluded. AT&T claims that it does not possess usage data for the time period prior to April 1, 2001, and it is the burden of MPTA and its members to produce that data. MPTA disagreed and argued that AT&T’s report was not complete.

The Commission concluded that disputed issues related to AT&T’s refund report still exist and that all disputed issues related to AT&T’s refund obligation should be referred to mediation. The Commission ordered that an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) be appointed to act as mediator and that the appointed ALJ has 60 days from the date of this order to issue his or her recommendation on any remaining disputed issues. Parties will then have 15 days to file with the Commission a request to resolve any remaining disputes.

Case No. U-17544                                                                                      Consumer Complaint: Video Services

Donna Richardson v Comcast of Michigan/Mississippi/Tennessee, Inc.

On March 6, 2014, the Michigan Public Service Commission (“Commission”) issued an Order dismissing the January 3, 2014 formal complaint of Donna Richardson against Comcast of Michigan/Mississippi/Tennessee, Inc. (“Comcast”) alleging that Comcast improperly billed her $650 for two payments Comcast says Ms. Richardson did not remit. Pursuant to MCL 484.3310(5)(b)(i), Administrative Law Judge Peter L. Plummer (“ALJ”) was selected to conduct a mediation between the parties. Neither the ALJ nor Commission Staff were able to contact Ms. Richardson to discuss her complaint. The ALJ did however conduct a conference call with Comcast to discuss Ms. Richardson’s complaint. On February 11, 2014, the ALJ recommended a settlement of the dispute pursuant to the formal mediation process provided for under MCL 484.3310(5)(b)(i). Because no party filed any objection to that recommendation, the matter is considered resolved by mediation and the Commission has dismissed the Complaint.