Qwest opposes state's control
Phone company wants law loosened to allow it to raise basic rate
By Kimberly S. Johnson
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
In the face of increasing competition, Qwest is looking to
loosen the control the state has over basic residential phone
The Denver-based telecommunications company wants to change the
formula used to establish the rate, said Chuck Ward, president
of Qwest's Colorado division.
the price is constrained by statute," Ward said Monday in a
meeting with The Denver Post. "The price is the same as it
was in 1995."
Currently, that rate is $14.88 a month.
While Qwest can increase the rate up to 5 percent a year, the
formula for doing so is based on inflation minus productivity
gains that make service less expensive to provide.
Doug Dean, state Public Utilities Commission director, said
Qwest has not applied for a rate increase since 1995.
Keeping the rate at its current base price is part of a sunset
bill — HB 1227 — that seeks to reauthorize the PUC until 2019.
Qwest is looking to amend the sunset bill, eliminating the
productivity formula and instead basing possible rate increases
solely on inflation. State Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton,
is sponsoring the amendment, set to be introduced in the Senate
sometime next week.
According to Dean, Qwest wants to be allowed to retroactively
apply the inflation rate over the last 10 years, which could
take the base price of residential service to $19.61 a month, a
32 percent increase.
Ward said even if Qwest got a change to the law, it wouldn't
necessarily raise the rate to $19.61.
one of only two states in which the residential rate is set in
statute. South Dakota, where Qwest
also offers service, is the other.
"This is an environment where regulation is contradictory and
harmful," Ward said. "It preserves the assumption that
there isn't competition in the marketplace."
The PUC is fighting the amendment, saying it's a "raw deal" for
Kimberly S. Johnson: 303-954-1088 or