The authoritative news source for communications regulation
More Reporting Required

Conn. Authority Directs Frontier Pay $2.5M for Service Quality Failures

Frontier Communications could pay nearly $2.5 million for missing two Connecticut service-quality standards, the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said Wednesday. PURA issued the notice of violation after Connecticut commissioners voted 3-0 at a livestreamed meeting on a final decision (docket 24-01-15) directing the company to provide additional reporting about failures to meet metrics.

Start A Trial

A PURA probe found that Frontier repeatedly failed to meet two metrics during a 108-month period (see 2406180045). From Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 13, 2023, Frontier missed the state’s “maintenance appointments met” (MAM) standard in 35 months and the “out-of-service repair" (OSR) standard in 51 months, the agency said. “In addition, the Authority finds that Frontier failed to file exception reports on 16 occasions, which were, cumulatively, 8,811 days overdue as of December 31, 2023, and that Frontier routinely failed to properly file adequate semi-annual and exception reports,” the PURA order said. PURA investigated Frontier at the request of the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC).

Connecticut’s largest carrier violated PURA rules and Title 16 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, the notice of violation said, which was posted in a new docket (24-01-15RE01). PURA calculates that Frontier owes $2.48 million in civil penalties, comprising $860,000 for the MAM and OSR violations and $1.62 million for failing to file exception reports, the violation notice read.

Frontier should pay $2.36 million of the total fine to Operation Fuel "to provide financial assistance to customers experiencing difficulties,” PURA said. According to the organization’s website, Operation Fuel provides “energy and utility assistance for low- to moderate-income households who are struggling financially and have exhausted other options.” Frontier should pay the remaining $124,050 to the state treasurer, the Connecticut authority said. The fines are due in 20 days.

However, the company could challenge the penalties. “Frontier could request a formal hearing," giving it "the opportunity to present a rebuttal case,” OCC Staff Attorney Burt Cohen told us in an email. “But it would also allow the agency and our Office to do discovery and cross-examination.” Frontier didn’t comment Wednesday. In response to a draft of the order last month, Frontier said it would try harder to meet Connecticut standards even though it called them outdated and relatively unimportant (see 2406250068). OCC supported assessing penalties for the company’s failures.

The PURA order required additional reporting. Beyond existing requirements, Frontier now must file an “exception report” within 30 days any time it fails to meet a Connecticut service-quality standard for three consecutive months, Wednesday’s decision said. The report must explain what occurred and propose a solution and an expected timetable. Also, the carrier must detail how it considered comments from employees or members of collective bargaining units, the order said.