ARCHIVED -  Telecom Costs Order CRTC 99-13

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Telecom Costs Order CRTC 99-13

  Ottawa, 2 December 1999

In re: Application by Northwestel to remove joint marketing restrictions

  File No.: 8622-N1-03/99
  Application for costs by the Utilities Consumers' Group (UCG).
  1. The Commission received an application from UCG dated 22 May 1999, for costs associated with its participation in the above-noted proceeding. Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel) filed its answer to the application on 31 May 1999, to which UCG replied on 1 June 1999.
  Positions of parties
  2. UCG submitted that its analysis and submission contributed to a better understanding of the issues involved in this proceeding. It applied for its costs in respect of work performed by its president, Mr. Roger Rondeau.
  3. In its answer, Northwestel expressed its view that UCG had not provided the depth of analysis that could be considered to have contributed materially to a better understanding of the issues in the proceeding. Northwestel argued that it should therefore not be required to pay UCG's costs. Northwestel stated, however, that should the Commission consider UCG to be eligible for an award of costs, it should be noted that the hourly rate of $90 charged by UCG was double that claimed in two of its previous costs applications. Northwestel submitted that such a rate increase was excessive and required justification by UCG.
  4. UCG replied that it was entitled to costs and that its claimed rate was not excessive. UCG stated that it provided comments in the proceeding as best it could under a short Commission deadline. As for the hourly rate, UCG "remind[ed] the Commission that UCG requests far less than the hours actually incurred for researching and responding to material presented." UCG also noted that pursuant to the CRTC Legal Directorate Guidelines for the Taxation of Costs (the guidelines), the maximum hourly rate for consultants and analysts of 0-4 years' experience is $90. UCG stated that Mr. Rondeau has more than four years' experience.
  Commission determination
  5. In the Commission's view, UCG has met the three requirements of subsection 44(1) of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure. Accordingly, an award of costs is warranted in the circumstances.
  6. UCG has claimed a total of $565, consisting of $540 in fees and $25 in disbursements. With respect to fees, the full amount was claimed for services rendered by Mr. Rondeau, president of UCG, consisting of 6 hours at an hourly rate of $90.
  7. In light of the relatively modest amount of costs claimed, the Commission considers that this is an appropriate case in which to dispense with taxation and fix the costs in accordance with the streamlined procedure set out in New Procedure for Telecom Costs Awards, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-11 dated 15 May 1998.
  8. In the view of the Commission, the most appropriate designation for Mr. Rondeau under the guidelines is an in-house analyst/consultant. Consistent with the guidelines, he would be entitled to a daily rate of $400, rather than an hourly rate. As $400 per day is the amount specified for a seven-hour work day, and UCG claimed only 6 hours, the adjusted amount payable to UCG would be $343, that is, six-sevenths of a complete day. UCG is also entitled to recover its disbursements in the amount of $25, as claimed.
  9. While UCG stated that it requests fewer than the hours actually incurred to make its submissions, the Commission considers that it must be UCG's responsibility to claim the full number of hours. If it does not, the Commission is not in a position to estimate the number of hours required for its participation, or to compensate any shortfall through an increase in the rate.
  Direction as to costs
  10. The application by UCG for an award of costs in respect of the above-mentioned proceeding is approved. Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission fixes the amount payable at $368.
  11. Costs awarded herein shall be payable forthwith to UCG by Northwestel.
  Secretary General
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Date Modified: 1999-12-02

Date modified: