Cox, PSC turn down rate increases

John O'Brien Jan. 11, 2007, 3:04pm


LANSING, Mich. - Two proposed rate increases recently were denied by Michigan's Public Service Commission, and Attorney General Mike Cox couldn't be happier.

On Tuesday, the PSC approved a settlement that Cox reached with SEMCO Energy Gas Co. that reduces SEMCO's proposed rate increase by $7 million.

Wednesday, the PSC ordered a time period in which Verizon customers can comment on the company's application to raise rates for a certain call plan.

The American Association of Retired Persons filed comments about Verizon's price change, and Cox filed a complaint with the PSC June 14.

"I am pleased that the commission has agreed to revisit Verizon's request to raise rates without a public hearing," Cox said.

The AARP said consumers' right to due process was violated because Verizon did not have a public meeting to discuss the change. The organization said it was a violation of Michigan's newly re-enacted Michigan Telecommunications Act.

Cox apparently agreed. The increase would occur on Verizon's 100-call Residential Plan, pushing consumers' bill up $1.20 per month.

Verizon was ordered to file a new application within 30 days and must welcome comments from consumers until March 12.

In addition to lower phone bills, Cox said he is dedicated to fighting for cheaper energy bills. That's why he was happy with his SEMCO settlement.

SEMCO's plan would have taken in an extra $19 million as Michigan prepares for winter, but Cox wanted the company to reduce it.

"As we begin to enter the cold season, my office will continue to fight to keep energy prices low," he said.

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