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Public Service Commission


NEWS RELEASE


02/06/2007 Contact: 850-413-6482

PSC Considers Options for Increasing Enrollment in Discounted Telephone Service Programs


TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today looked at opportunities to increase enrollment in the Link-Up Florida and Lifeline Assistance benefit programs. The Link-Up Florida and Lifeline Assistance programs help low income Floridians obtain and maintain essential telephone service.

The Florida Lifeline program helps keep telephone service affordable by providing a credit of $13.50 to qualified low-income consumers on their monthly telephone bills. The Florida Link-Up program provides a 50% reduction in the telephone installation charge up to a maximum of $30.

Currently, telephone companies offer the discount programs on basic telephone service; however, Commission staff is proposing that the discount should also apply to a package of services that include items such as caller identification, call waiting or call forwarding. Today’s workshop addressed methods the PSC could adopt to extend the Link-Up Florida and Lifeline benefits to all calling packages.

  “The Commission is committed to making sure all eligible consumers can receive this useful financial assistance,” said PSC Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar. “Information from  today’s workshop guide future rule development to enhance the programs and their reach.”

Other items discussed at the workshop included:

• The procedures telephone companies use to verify Lifeline eligibility.

• Expanding Lifeline service reporting requirements to include a comprehensive  quarterly update of subscribers who have enrolled or been removed from the program. 

• The current rules that govern the Link-Up Florida and Lifeline programs.

To increase participation in the Link-Up Florida and Lifeline programs, the PSC recently made it easier for consumers to sign up.  Consumers simply fill out an online application on the PSC website (www.floridapsc.com) and hit “submit.” More than 800 people have already taken advantage of the new online enrollment process that the PSC launched in October.

The PSC anticipates increasing enrollment further in 2007 by coordinating the enrollment process with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to sign up DCF clients who qualify for the telephone assistance programs.

The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.

For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.



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