FairPoint: NH consumer advocate says no more concessions

The Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont Public Utilities Commissions (PUC) will hold their first joint meeting in Derry, N.H. on Wednesday to discuss FairPoint Communications' ongoing operational issues with telephone lines in the three states it took over from Verizon officially this past February. While each of the three states have had their own separate hearings with FairPoint, the meeting in Derry will be the first time they have come together to ask the ILEC questions. Although open to the public, only the state's commissioners will get to ask FairPoint questions. 

However, Meredith Hatfield, New Hampshire's Consumer Advocate, says that there's been enough talking and now each state's respective PUC needs to lay down the law. "It is time to stop asking questions and start really coming down on FairPoint and get them to change," she said in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Since taking over Verizon's lines in February, FairPoint has struggled to resolve both residential and wholesale customer issues in a timely manner. Vermont has even gone so far as saying it would like to revoke FairPoint's right to do business in its state, while the Maine PUC ordered FairPoint to pay $400,000 in fines for poor wholesale service to competitive local service providers.

New Hampshire's Office of Consumer Advocate said in a letter to the commission last week that holding Wednesday's session in a "legislative style" does a disservice to FairPoint's customers and other entities that have an interest in FairPoint.

"Neither interested stakeholders such as the OCA, nor members of the public have any opportunity to participate, and FairPoint's witnesses submit unsworn statements of fact. The Commission, and the public interest it is charged to protect, is ill-served by such a process," the letter said.

For more:
- New Hampshire Union Leader has this article

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