ARCHIVED -  Telecom Costs Order CRTC 96-29

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Telecom Costs Order

Ottawa, 27 November 1996
Telecom Costs Order CRTC 96-29
In re: TELUS Communications Inc. - General Rate Increase Application, 1996-1997
Application for costs by BR Telecom.
Position of Parties
On 30 July 1996, at the close of the oral hearing held to consider the application of TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI) (formerly AGT Limited) for a general rate increase for the years 1996 and 1997, BR Telecom applied, pursuant to section 44 of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules) for its costs incurred in connection with its participation in the above-noted proceeding.
BR Telecom submitted that it had met the Commission's criteria for an award of costs. It stated that it believed that it represents a user viewpoint that seeks a broader and more informed public participation in the regulatory process. It noted that it was not aligned with a competitor or particular interest group. It stated that it had limited its participation at the hearing to rates and policy issues and that, by nature of its relative inexperience with the process, was able to bring a fresh perspective to the issues.
TCI opposed BR Telecom's application for costs. TCI stated that there were no grounds for costs in this case. TCI stated that the problem, mainly, was that there are no subscribers being represented.
BR Telecom chose not to reply.
The Commission is of the view that BR Telecom's participation in this proceeding was responsible.
With respect to TCI's objection to the application for costs, the Commission notes that, under the criteria set out in subsection 44(1)(a) of the Rules, costs awards are not limited to interveners who are representative of a group or class of subscribers. The Rules permit costs to be awarded to an intervener on that intervener's own behalf so long as the intervener has an interest in the outcome of the proceeding of such a nature that the intervener will receive a benefit or suffer a detriment as a result of the decision resulting from the proceeding.
In fact, the Commission has, in the past, awarded costs to individual subscribers, usually limiting such awards to expenses actually incurred.
However, the Commission has denied costs applications brought by commercial enterprises noting that an award of costs to such interveners would not be appropriate because the enterprises already had sufficient incentive to participate in the proceedings.
In the case of this application, BR Telecom, despite the opportunity provided to it at the public hearing, has not established that it is representative of a group or class of subscribers with an interest in the outcome of the proceeding, or that it has such an interest on its own behalf and in a manner that it would not already have had sufficient incentive to participate. The Commission is, therefore, of the view that it is not appropriate to award costs to BR Telecom.
BR Telecom's application for costs is denied.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
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