Date: June 27, 2001
Contact: Audrie Krause, Executive Director
Phone: 415-215-9392

The PUC Should Listen to Consumers Before Deregulating Pacific Bell

Former Governor Wilson's appointees to the California Public Utilities Commission made some serious mistakes when they deregulated California's energy industry without adequate safeguards for protecting consumers from unscrupulous power suppliers and inept utility managers. Governor Davis's appointees should avoid making similar mistakes with the state's largest local phone monopoly.

Before the PUC approves Pacific Bell's application for permission to sell long distance phone service in California, the Commission should schedule public hearings so that consumers and business competitors can voice their concerns. That is the best way to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect consumers from rate hikes, service disruptions and the host of other problems experienced by consumers in states where regulators have already allowed the local phone monopoly into the long distance market. For example:

Pacific Bell's wholesale rates are three times higher in California than in Texas, and also higher than in any other state where SBC is the incumbent local service provider. California consumers are already suffering from wholesale price gouging by Texas-based energy companies. If the goal of deregulation is really to increase consumer choice in local phone service, regulators should give consumers an opportunity to express their concerns before unleashing another monopoly.

P.O. Box 6739 * Santa Barbara, CA 93160
Phone: (415) 215-9392 * Fax: (805) 681-0941 * E-mail: