Colorado Public Utilities Commission

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The key public service commission document is here.

Following is the complaint sent to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission Saturday 9/15/12.  Edits, items not included in the original document, are being made on an ongoing basis.  They are marked “EDIT.”


I am requesting PUC assistance with the following problems.  I strongly hope issues with this company will become a Commission agenda item, so that more inquiry/corrections may be made.

I am estimating the first report of my problems to CenturyLink as a year and a half ago (EDIT:  This may be as long as 5-6 year ago–that I noticed problems and reported them; I requested a history/timetable from CenturyLink representatives and they have not responded).  This week I have had additional major outages and I have spoken with and e-mailed over a dozen CenturyLink employees.

The problem I am having with my home phone is 1) extreme static, so much so that conversations often cannot be conducted; the problem is intermittent and 2) frequent outages; I can specify at least seven over the recent past.  (EDIT:  At least) Six service employees have been to my home and have not fixed the problems.  This week I was told several times “we cannot fix the problem.”

Now CenturyLink construction is occurring in my neighborhood for network maintenance and/or upgrades that will last approximately/at least five more weeks.  There was a prolonged outage Tuesday 9/11.  I was told by David Schmidt “you are going to have outages” (plural).  I asked for a schedule and pre-outage notifications and was told “Want me to send a letter saying no dates or service assurances?  I will.”


Further, I submit the following.  This, and more information are contained on my blog:  I will also post e-mails online, with a link to be provided in the blog.

Rule 2004 (p. 31)  Must provide contact information for External Affairs Section of the commission; this was asked-for and refused.  I was told “go on the internet and find it,” then hung up on.

CenturyLink is required to automatically provide bill credits for certain outages (Rule 2304).  They do not do this:  they require customers to call a different department (billing) which has limited business hours, and attempt to obtain a billing adjustment.  During a 24-hour period this Tuesday and Wednesday of this week my phone was not working for more than eight hours.

2333 (p. 135) Plant and equipment to provide uniform service quality and safety of persons and property; neighborhood service is below other areas, my line is described by CenturyLink employees as  “the worst,” and construction is dangerous (e.g., unrepaired holes in road; lack of fire department/sheriff notification road-blocking).

2334 (p. 136) LEC must coordinate with other entities concerning construction; this is not done, e.g., the road has been completely blocked and fire/sheriff departments have not been notified.  Further, I could find no information online for a permit; Gary Dietz of CenturyLink provided a permit number and county contact when asked but this information does not correspond with county records.

I was going to list specifics of all violations and individual “rules” not followed.  I am hoping the list at the end of this post will suffice; please let me know if additional information is needed..  I am hoping the Commission or staff will ask/insist that CenturyLink executives comply with these regulations.

2308. Local Exchange Service Standards.

(a) Basic service standard. As part of its obligation to provide adequate basic local exchange service, each LEC shall construct and maintain its telecommunications network so that the instrumentalities, equipment, and facilities within the network shall be adequate, efficient, just, and reasonable in all respects in order to provide the following services or capabilities to each of its customers within its service area.

2310. Availability of Service — Adequacy of Facilities.

Each LEC shall employ prudent management planning practices, including budgeting and prioritizing resources, to ensure that adequate facilities and equipment are in service to provide service to prospective customers in its service territory and in areas certificated to the LEC in conformance with the LEC’s line extension policy.

Part of the problem in my area is that the “box” is full–there are no more phone lines available and this has been the case for months if not years.  The service person at my home Thursday called and attempted to move my line to a better connection; he was told none are available. Connections appear to vary.  None are available and they are not uniform.

Rule 2335 – Service interruptions for an extended time due to maintenance requirements shall be performed at a time that causes minimal inconvenience to impacted customers. The LEC shall take reasonable steps to notify the customer in advance of extended maintenance requirements. The LEC shall also make emergency service available when the provider knows that the service interruption affects 1,000 or more access lines and when the provider knows, based upon the prior experience of the LEC, that the interruption may last more than four hours during the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. If the LEC cannot provide emergency service, it shall file a report of the occurrence as required by paragraph 2143(h).

2336. Adequacy of Service.

(a) Each LEC and toll service provider shall employ prudent management and engineering practices so that sufficient equipment and adequate personnel are available at all times, including the average busy hour of the busy season. To meet this objective, each LEC and toll service provider shall conduct traffic studies, employ reasonable procedures for forecasting future service demand and maintain the records necessary to demonstrate to the Commission that sufficient equipment is in use and that an adequate operating force is provided.

This does not apply to my home phone problem, but Evergreen is not considered a Denver metro exchange or an area where “effective competition” exists.

To summarize, per PUC regulations, the most serious problems are:

  1. Failure to repair known, reported service problems.
  2. Failure to make adequate network repairs necessary to provide uniform, working service to all customers.
  3. Failure to attempt to notify to customers of “extended maintenance requirements.”
  4. Failure to perform maintenance requirements at times that will minimize inconvenience to customers.
  5. Failure to provide appropriate/sufficient network capacity.
  6. Failure to comply with local permit/work area regulations.
  7. Failure to provide emergency services during outages.  (Per Russ Wittig, CenturyLink technician, the work in my area affects “1,000 households; plus there are hundreds of businesses in the area.  EDIT:  I have asked repeatedly for interim, dependable service; per David Schmidt:  “We would do it if you were a business.”  I do operate a small business out of my home; to me the implication is ‘you don’t pay enough.’)
  8. Failure to maintain adequate records of underground cables in order to prevent accidental cutting of cables.  (Per Gabe Kishimoter, CenturyLink technician, “We don’t know where they are.”)
  9. Failure to provide automatic billing adjustments for extended service interruptions.
  10. Failure to provide adequate, appropriate staffing “at all times.”
  11. Failure to provide, when asked, contact information for Public Utilities Commission staff assistance.

Overall there is a strong failure to comply.  The above list may not be exhaustive.  It seems endemic, systemic, and intentional.  Without question others in my immediate area are similarly affected and logic suggests this is happening elsewhere in the state.  I have asked CenturyLink employees on numerous occasions to provide such services and have been rebuked.  I have conversation notes, e-mails, photographs, and third parties (e.g., county officials) as evidence.

The most disturbing problem, aside from my continued lack of properly-working services, is CenturyLink employees’ attempts cancel–or coerce me to voluntarily cancel–their services.  Friday 9/14 I was called and explicitly told (virtually yelled-at) “Take your service elsewhere.”  I was then told I have the weekend to “decide” and that I would be called again on Monday to elicit a decision.  I don’t know if CenturyLink is going to cancel my service or not–there are strict regulations prohibiting that except under very specific conditions.  The phone call was so disturbing I considered contacting law enforcement authorities; I informed David Schmidt in writing that he may not e-mail or call me–if he does it again I will go to my local sheriff.  Two CenturyLink service representatives I spoke with Friday afternoon refused to do anything and an e-mail sent to general customer support has still not be replied-to.  I must characterize this exhortation as revenge–revenge based on my insistence that the above-listed failures be corrected.


I have spoken with and/e-mailed from CenturyLink:  David Schmidt, Tamara Neher, Mike McDonald, Chris Brown, Frank Kassay, Gary Dietz, and many others.

I am requesting:  repair, refund, apology, and record and investigate by the PUC.

Friday 9/14 I spoke with Gladys Rey and submitted information about the potential/threatened disconnection of my phone service.  I apologize for the overlap/redundancy.

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