Frontier Commonwealth Settlement Earns PUC Approval, Lawmakers Say
HARRISURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has given final approval to a settlement aimed at addressing long-standing service issues with Frontier Commonwealth, according to a half dozen lawmakers who have been advocating for affected consumers.

The settlement was negotiated in response to a formal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) and Office of Small Business Advocate (OSBA) against Frontier last year for its failure to provide reliable service to residential and business customers.

Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Reps. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Wyoming), Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford), Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), Jonathan Fritz (R-Susquehanna/Wayne) and Joe Hamm (R-Lycoming/Sullivan) represent thousands of residents and businesses that receive telephone and/or internet services from Frontier. They offered the following statement:

“For years, Frontier customers have dealt with horrible customer service as well as frequent and sometimes lengthy service outages that were, at best, inconvenient and, at worst, a threat to public health and safety. We are very glad to see Frontier finally being held accountable for its failures. While it never should have gotten to this point, we applaud the consumers who spoke up to share their experiences and thank the OCA and OSBA for taking their complaints seriously and pursuing this case on their behalf,” they said.

“We are encouraged by the elements of the settlement that force Frontier to address system maintenance issues, including long-neglected wire centers and remote terminal batteries that help ensure continued service, as well customer service concerns, including staffing levels and a new consumer hotline. These are the sorts of steps needed to help ensure customers of Frontier Commonwealth get the kind of service they need and deserve well into the future,” they added.

“I am pleased with the commission’s actions to approve the settlement, which brings much-needed relief to customers in terms of more than $100 million in capital spending, customer refunds and accountability. While no settlement achieves all the goals, this is a good settlement for Pennsylvania consumers in the Northern Tier,” said Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate Patrick Cicero. “I am grateful for the cooperation and support that my office received in this case from the state representatives. They were champions of their constituents, and this case was a success because of their support.”

“I applaud the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, as well as our state legislators, in recognizing the necessity of small businesses having phone and internet services to conduct business,” said NazAarah Sabree, Pennsylvania Small Business Advocate. “Any delay in service equates to a loss of revenue. Our primary mission is to represent the interests of small businesses across the Commonwealth. With this settlement approval, Frontier’s commercial consumers will not only receive compensation for past service outages and a rate cap on future charges, but also have the security needed when conducting business going forward.”

Under the terms of the settlement, customers may be eligible for credits, refunds and other remedies based on certain past or future issues with their telephone or internet services. Frontier will be required to invest in excess of $100 million in capital expenditures in its service territory, address staffing concerns in the Northern Tier region, and identify and invest in the most troublesome wire centers.

Additional requirements of the settlement include publicizing the company’s medical certification process; accounting for its batteries in remote terminals; developing and filing a maintenance plan to address plant issues; reporting metrics and data related to service quality, including triggers for additional spending to meet benchmarks; providing a rate cap to small business customers; and establishing a consumer hotline.

For more information, read the news release from the PUC here.

Republican Leader Bryan Cutler, 100th District
Representative Tina Pickett, 110th District
Representative Clint Owlett, 68th District
Representative Martin Causer, 67th District
Representative Jonathan Fritz, 111th District
Representative Joe Hamm, 84th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Cutler Media Contact: Jason Gottesman, 717-512-0620,
Pickett Media Contact: Andy Briggs, 717-260-6474,
Owlett Media Contact: Patricia Hippler, 717-772-9846,
Causer Media Contact: Patricia Hippler, 717-772-9846,
Fritz Media Contact: Melissa Fox, 717-260-6522,
Hamm Media Contact: Hunter Keip, 717-772-9837,