Michigan PSC Adopts Rules To Help Keep Phone Customers From Losing Service

LANSING – A set of rules were adopted by the Public Service Commission Thursday that are meant to address potential disputes between wholesale and retail telecommunications providers in the event customers could lose their phone service.

The rules are intended to allow landline customers time to find a new carrier if a dispute between providers could result in the loss or interruption or service.

Under the rules the providers are required to work together to resolve issues and if unsuccessful the wholesale provider must notify the PSC and the retail provider at least 45 days prior to its deadline for ending service to the retail provider.

The retail carrier would be required to notify customers, the PSC and the governor within 10 days of being notified by the wholesale provider. This is in accordance with federal rules. The retail provider would also be required to provide information about its customers to the PSC.

UNUSED DETROIT POWER LINES PLAN: DTE Electric Company has been told by the Public Service Commission it must inform them how the company plans to address electrical equipment safety associated with its electrical equipment potentially coming into contact with out-of-service arc wire downed by the city of Detroit.

The company was ordered in December to work with the city of Detroit on a plan to document and remove the many miles of unused, out-of-service power lines in Detroit. The order came after an investigation concluded into the accidental electrocution of a 12-year-old girl in the city in 2016. Hundreds of miles of out-of-service arc wires are still in place in its service area in Detroit and some outlying areas.

DTE must inform the PSC by March 30 whether it will do the analysis or provide an alternate plan.

PSC REORGANIZATION: The Public Service Commission announced it has completed the reorganization of staff as outlined in an executive order issued by Governor Rick Snyder in January.

The reorganization moved the Customer Assistance and Administrative Services divisions and the energy markets sections from the Michigan Agency for Energy to the PSC. The changes took effect this past Sunday. The PSC also assumed oversight of several staff that represent the state in regional and national forums; the change does not result in any MAE staff reduction.

This story was published by Gongwer News Service.