ARCHIVED -  Telecom Costs Order CRTC 98-4

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Telecom Costs Order

Ottawa, 18 February 1998
Telecom Costs Order CRTC 98-4
In re: Implementation of Price Cap Regulation, 1997 Contribution Charges and Related Issues, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-11
Reference: 8085-RP0003/97
1. Application for Costs by the Alberta Council on Aging, Consumers' Association of Canada, Fédération nationale des associations de consommateurs du Québec and the National Anti-Poverty Organization (ACA et al.).
2. By letter dated 14 November 1997, ACA et al. applied for costs in relation to this proceeding. ACA et al. submitted that it had satisfied the Commission's test for an award of costs in subsection 44(1) of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules), noting that it focused its efforts on rate of return and depreciation issues, retained proven experts in each area, and provided a clear and concise analysis of the end-user impact of the telephone company proposals. ACA et al. submitted that the eight Stentor member companies should be made respondents to its application.
3. In its comments, dated 24 November 1997, Stentor Resource Centre Inc. (Stentor) did not object to an award of costs to ACA et al. except in respect of the portion of ACA et al.'s participation associated with a report prepared by D.A. Ford and Associates (the Ford Report). Stentor submitted that the Ford report was not relevant to the issues under consideration in this proceeding as it attempted to re-open the issue of the appropriateness of rate rebalancing. Stentor also noted that the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which represented ACA et al. in this proceeding, had engaged in a public campaign over the course of the proceeding related to the issue of affordability and the impact on consumers of rate rebalancing. Stentor submitted that ACA et al. should be required to certify that the items which it claims in the taxation process pertain solely to participation in this proceeding. Stentor did not object to ACA et al.'s statement that Stentor should be named as the sole respondent to its application.
4. In its reply, dated 28 November 1997, ACA et al. submitted that its evidence and argument were relevant and were not intended to re-open the issue of rate rebalancing. The purpose of the Ford Report was to assess the end-user impact of the proposals being considered in this proceeding. ACA et al. confirmed that it would only claim expenses in relation to its submissions filed in this proceeding, and would certify that no expenses or fees were charged for the exercise of public relations, information campaigns or other activities not directly related to the proceeding.
5. The Commission is of the view that ACA et al. has a sufficient interest in the outcome of the proceeding, has participated in a responsible manner, and has contributed to a better understanding of the issues by the Commission. Further, the Commission considers that the evidence as to the potential rates likely to result under each company's proposal set out in the Ford Report was relevant to the issue of the appropriate mechanism to recover any revenue requirement shortfall not recovered through going-in rates.
6. In light of the above, the Commission considers that ACA et al. has met the criteria for an award of costs set out in the Rules, and should be awarded costs for its participation in this proceeding, including those associated with the Ford Report.
7. With respect to the appropriate respondents to ACA et al.'s application, the Commission notes that the present proceeding is akin to a rate case for each federally regulated Stentor member company. In light of that fact, and given that the Stentor member companies will derive the principle benefit of price cap regulation, the Commission considers it appropriate to name Stentor as the sole respondent to ACA et al.'s application.
8. The application of ACA et al. for an award of costs in respect of this proceeding is approved.
9. Costs awarded herein shall be subject to taxation in accordance with the Rules.
10. Costs awarded herein shall be payable to ACA et al. by Stentor.
11. Costs awarded herein shall be taxed by Jean-Pierre Blais.
12. ACA et al. shall, within 30 days of this Order, submit a Bill of Costs and an Affidavit of Disbursements directly to the Taxing Officer, serving a copy on Stentor.
13. Stentor may, within two weeks of receiving those documents, file comments directly with the Taxing Officer with respect to the costs claimed, serving a copy on ACA et al.
14. ACA et al. may, within two weeks of receiving Stentor's comments, file a reply directly with the Taxing Officer, serving a copy on Stentor.
15. Documents to be filed or served must be actually received, not merely sent, by the dates indicated.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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