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HomeNewsArchivesPSC OKAYS FEES FOR NEW PHONE SERVICE OPTIONS

PSC OKAYS FEES FOR NEW PHONE SERVICE OPTIONS

The Public Services Commission has approved charges for long-awaited service options to be offered by the Virgin Island Telephone Corp. — caller ID, call return, repeat dialing, distinctive ringing and long-distance alert.
Caller ID displays the caller's telephone number before the customer picks up the phone. Deluxe ID also shows the caller's name. The service here will identify only calls made on land lines in the Virgin Islands, not long-distance or cellular calls.
Distinctive ringing, sometimes called "teen service," allows customers to program their phones so that regular callers to specific individuals within a household trigger a distinctive ring. That way, parents won't pick up the phone if it's junior's best buddy, for instance.
The options also include a call-blocking feature that prevents display of the caller's identity. This feature is important to social service agencies where client confidentiality is essential.
Vitelco submitted its proposed rates to the PSC in December. The commission delayed action in February in part so that members could study the matter of caller privacy.
The charges were approved Monday. Walter Challenger, PSC chair, and Alecia M. Wells voted yes. Desmond Maynard and Luther Renee abstained. Patrick Williams and Dora Hill were absent.
Attorney Frederick G. Watts, PSC hearing examiner, and PSC off-island consultant Anthony J. Zarillo endorsed the charges. Zarillo said the rates proposed were in line with those of 22 companies he checked out on the mainland. Watts termed the fees "appropriate."
Maynard said he needed more time to examine the fees so as to make an "informed decision." Challenger said some states don't hold hearings on rates for new optional features and noted that those coming now have been some three years in the making.
Vitelco representatives said they were negotiating with long-distance carriers about possibly adding caller ID, if it is economically feasible for Vitelco.
Customers can sign up for the new features at the company's business offices between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In other action, the commission granted Vitelco a 50 percent waiver of legally mandated credit to customers for interruption of telephone service resulting from Hurricane Lenny, to 100 percent of normal rates from 150 percent. The service periods are Nov. 17 to Jan. 15 for St. Thomas-St. John and Nov. 17 to Jan. 31 for St. Croix. Credit to customers without service will be based on the severity of the damage to their area, according to Keithly Joseph, PSC executive director.
Vitelco president Samuel Ebbesen and company attorney Kevin Rames said about 300 lines are still out from the hurricane on St Croix but should be back in service within 90 days. Vitelco has committed to providing cellular phones to customers having severe problems, Joseph said.
Some of the monthly rates approved:
Caller ID: residential — $5.50, deluxe $7; business — $6.50, deluxe $8
Call return: residential $3; business $4
Repeat dialing: residential $3; business $4
Distinctive ringing (depending on number): residential — $4 to $8; business — $5.60 to $11.20

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The Public Services Commission has approved charges for long-awaited service options to be offered by the Virgin Island Telephone Corp. -- caller ID, call return, repeat dialing, distinctive ringing and long-distance alert.
Caller ID displays the caller's telephone number before the customer picks up the phone. Deluxe ID also shows the caller's name. The service here will identify only calls made on land lines in the Virgin Islands, not long-distance or cellular calls.
Distinctive ringing, sometimes called "teen service," allows customers to program their phones so that regular callers to specific individuals within a household trigger a distinctive ring. That way, parents won't pick up the phone if it's junior's best buddy, for instance.
The options also include a call-blocking feature that prevents display of the caller's identity. This feature is important to social service agencies where client confidentiality is essential.
Vitelco submitted its proposed rates to the PSC in December. The commission delayed action in February in part so that members could study the matter of caller privacy.
The charges were approved Monday. Walter Challenger, PSC chair, and Alecia M. Wells voted yes. Desmond Maynard and Luther Renee abstained. Patrick Williams and Dora Hill were absent.
Attorney Frederick G. Watts, PSC hearing examiner, and PSC off-island consultant Anthony J. Zarillo endorsed the charges. Zarillo said the rates proposed were in line with those of 22 companies he checked out on the mainland. Watts termed the fees "appropriate."
Maynard said he needed more time to examine the fees so as to make an "informed decision." Challenger said some states don't hold hearings on rates for new optional features and noted that those coming now have been some three years in the making.
Vitelco representatives said they were negotiating with long-distance carriers about possibly adding caller ID, if it is economically feasible for Vitelco.
Customers can sign up for the new features at the company's business offices between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In other action, the commission granted Vitelco a 50 percent waiver of legally mandated credit to customers for interruption of telephone service resulting from Hurricane Lenny, to 100 percent of normal rates from 150 percent. The service periods are Nov. 17 to Jan. 15 for St. Thomas-St. John and Nov. 17 to Jan. 31 for St. Croix. Credit to customers without service will be based on the severity of the damage to their area, according to Keithly Joseph, PSC executive director.
Vitelco president Samuel Ebbesen and company attorney Kevin Rames said about 300 lines are still out from the hurricane on St Croix but should be back in service within 90 days. Vitelco has committed to providing cellular phones to customers having severe problems, Joseph said.
Some of the monthly rates approved:
Caller ID: residential -- $5.50, deluxe $7; business -- $6.50, deluxe $8
Call return: residential $3; business $4
Repeat dialing: residential $3; business $4
Distinctive ringing (depending on number): residential -- $4 to $8; business -- $5.60 to $11.20