ARCHIVED -  Telecom Costs Order CRTC 99-7

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Telecom Costs Order

Ottawa, 27 September 1999

Telecom Costs Order CRTC 99-7

In re: Telecom Order CRTC 99-607

File No.: Tariff Notice 701

1.Application for costs by the Utilities Consumers' Group (UCG).

2.By letter dated 8 May 1999, UCG applied for an award of costs in the proceeding to consider Northwestel Inc.'s (Northwestel) Tariff Notice (TN) 701 and claimed total costs of $770.00, consisting of $720.00 in analyst/consultant fees (16 hours at $45/hour for UCG's president, Mr. Rondeau) and $50.00 for disbursements (photocopies, faxes, paper and printing).

3.In support of its claim, UCG submitted that it had offered a better understanding of the issues.

4.In a letter dated 13 May 1999, Northwestel submitted that UCG's comments "contained a misinterpretation of the proposed tariff revisions, an analysis based on inappropriate set of data, and interrogatories that are irrelevant and immaterial to the subject matter. " Northwestel submitted that UCG did not contribute to a better understanding of the issues by the Commission, and argued that UCG's application should be denied.

5.Northwestel further submitted that if the Commission were to determine that an award of costs to UCG would be appropriate, it should not allow the full amount claimed by UCG as, in Northwestel's view, "both the office costs and analyst fees submitted by UCG are excessive and exaggerate the amount of the work required for this intervention."

6.UCG did not file a reply.

Commission Determination

7.The Commission notes that TN 701 was filed pursuant to Northwestel Inc. - Interconnection of Interexchange Carriers and Related Resale and Sharing Issues, Telecom Decision CRTC 98-1, 11 February 1998 (Decision 98-1), and proposed to increase local access rates by $6.00 and to offset this increase with long distance rate reductions on a revenue neutral basis. The Commission further notes that UCG's comments addressed a number of issues that were outside the scope of this proceeding. At the same time, the Commission notes that UCG filed submissions with respect to Northwestel's proposal to apply a different elasticity factor than that directed in Decision 98-1. The Commission considers that UCG's submissions with respect to the elasticity factor led to a better understanding of this particular issue by the Commission and that, in the circumstances, UCG has satisfied the test for costs set out in section 44 of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure.

8.Given the size of UCG's claim, the fact that the issues in this proceeding were not complex, and the brevity of the proceeding, the Commission considers that it would be appropriate to dispense with taxation and fix the costs to be paid to UCG in accordance with the streamlined approach set out in New Procedures for Telecom Costs Awards, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-11, 15 May 1998.

9.With respect to the fees claimed, the Commission considers that the rate of $45 per hour is appropriate in the circumstances of this case. However, given that UCG addressed a number of issues that were outside the scope of this proceeding, the Commission considers that the time claimed of 16 hours is not reasonable. In the circumstances, the Commission considers that it would be appropriate to allow 7 hours. Accordingly, the Commission will allow $315 for fees.

10.The Commission considers the amount claimed for disbursements to be reasonable.

11.The Commission hereby fixes the costs to be paid to UCG at $ 365.00.

12.Costs awarded herein shall be paid by Northwestel forthwith.

Secretary General

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