Blumenthal urges DPUC to make sure AT&T pays

John O'Brien Jun. 9, 2009, 1:28pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Still upset with a state regulatory agency's decision not to punish AT&T, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday the company should be penalized nearly $1 million.

The Department of Public Utility Control recently found that AT&T has failed to repair 90 percent of out-of-service phones within 24 hours since 2001, yet decided against a punishment because it concluded that standard was outdated. Blumenthal called the decision illogical and inexplicable.

Now, Blumenthal is asking the DPUC to reverse its ruling and impose a $10,000 penalty for each of the company's 92 violations -- a total penalty of $920,000.

He called the DPUC's actions "a mockery of rules."

"The DPUC must find AT&T has consistently failed to meet minimum service standards and impose serious and significant penalties to deter defiance of state laws," he said.

The poor service, Blumenthal argues, is a result of layoffs at AT&T. The Democrat has criticized the company's decision to move customer service jobs to Michigan.

AT&T's records show it has repaired out-of-service phones within 24 hours a little more than half the time.

A statement by AT&T spokesperson Chuck Coursey said, "The DPUC conducted a careful and thorough review, established a comprehensive, factual record, and concluded that AT&T is performing well in a highly competitive market," according to a report in The Day of New London.

Blumenthal argues that not having a working phone can be dangerous for some.

"Failure to meet repair requirements endangers our most vulnerable citizens, potentially leaving them unable to call for help when they most need it," he said. "Public safety demands that DPUC swiftly and stringently enforce its repair standard."

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