ARCHIVED - Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2003-8

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Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2003-8

  Ottawa, 4 September 2003

L'Union des consommateurs application for costs - Follow-up to Order 2000-393 - Bill Management Tools (BMT) Committee

  Reference: 8638-C12-46/01 and 4754-220


By letter dated 31 March 2003, l'Union des consommateursapplied for costs with respect to its participation on the Bill Management Tools (BMT) Committee, initiated in Regulatory framework for second price cap period, Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-34, 30 May 2002. In its application, l'Union des consommateurs stated that Société en commandite Télébec (Télébec) and TELUS Communications (Québec) Inc. (TELUS Québec) were the only incumbent local exchange companies (ILECs) involved and proposed that the payment of costs be split between the two ILECs, in proportion to their revenues. L'Union des consommateurs sent copies of its application to all members of the BMT Committee.


On 9 April 2003 Aliant Telecom Inc., Bell Canada, MTS Communications Inc., and Saskatchewan Telecommunications (the Companies) wrote to the Commission regarding the application for costs by l'Union des consommateurs, stating that they had no objection to the applicants' entitlement or the amount claimed. They further stated that, given the suggestion by l'Union des consommateurs that Télébec and TELUS Québec were appropriate respondents, they had no further comments on this application. On 10 April 2003, Télébec and TELUS Québec filed their responses to this application, in which they stated that they did not oppose the applicant's entitlement or the amount claimed.


On 2 May 2003, l'Union des consommateurs wrote to the Commission indicating that it had erroneously indicated that TELUS Québec and Télébec were the only ILECs participating in the BMT Committee. L'Union des consommateurs modified its original application to suggest that the Commission apportion responsibility for their costs between Bell Canada and TELUS Communications Inc. (TELUS), as was done in Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the National Anti-Poverty Organization and Action Réseau Consommateur applications for costs - Order CRTC 2000-393, Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2002-15, 22 October 2002. L'Union des consommateurs sent a copy of this e-mail to the telephone companies that are members of the BMT Committee, including Bell Canada and TELUS. No further submissions were received from any of the ILECs.

The application


L'Union des consommateurs submitted that it had met the criteria for an award of costs set out in subsection 44(1) of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules) because it represented a group of subscribers who would be materially affected by the outcome of the BMT Committee's deliberations, it participated responsibly in the show cause proceeding, and it contributed to a better understanding of the issues through its participation on the BMT Committee.


L'Union des consommateurs requested that the Commission fix its costs at $1,061.18, consisting of fees for preparation for and participation in BMT Committee meetings as well as disbursements. It included a bill of costs with its application.


L'Union des consommateurs claimed one and a half days for its preparation of comments and one day for its appearance at meetings, both at a rate of $400.00 per day, as well as $15.00 for photocopies and $46.18 for bus transportation to a BMT Committee meeting on 9 April 2002.


As noted above, in its submission of 2 May 2003, l'Union des consommateurs submitted that the appropriate respondents in this case were Bell Canada and TELUS and proposed that any award of costs be made payable by these respondents in proportion to their revenues.

Commission analysis and determination


The Commission finds that l'Union des consommateurs has satisfied the criteria for an award of costs set out in subsection 44(1) of the Rules. Specifically, the Commission finds that l'Union des consommateurs is representative of a group or class of subscribers that has an interest in the outcome of the BMT Committee, participated in the BMT Committee in a responsible manner, and contributed to the Commission's better understanding of the issues.


The rate claimed in respect of preparation and attendance is in accordance with the rates set out in the Legal Directorate's Guidelines for the Taxation of Costs, revised as of 15 May 1998. The Commission finds that the total amount claimed by l'Union des consommateurs was necessarily and reasonably incurred and should be allowed.


The Commission is of the view that this is an appropriate case in which to fix costs and dispense with taxation.


The Commission is also of the view that, in light of the small amount claimed, the appropriate respondents for costs are Bell Canada and TELUS, in the following proportions:
    Bell Canada 75%
    TELUS 25%

Direction as to costs


The Commission approves the application by l'Union des consommateurs for costs with respect to their participation in the BMT Committee.


Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission fixes the costs to be paid to l'Union des consommateurs at $1,061.18.


The Commission directs that the award of costs to l'Union des consommateurs be paid forthwith by Bell Canada and TELUS, according to the proportions noted in paragraph 11.
  Secretary General
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Date Modified: 2003-09-04

Date modified: