| State of New Jersey
Department Of The Public Advocate
240 West State St.
P.O. Box 851
Trenton, NJ 08625-0851
Phone: (609) 826-5090 Fax: (609) 984-4747
|JON S. CORZINE
For Immediate Release:
April 18, 2007
|RONALD K. CHEN
For Further Information
Public Advocate Wins Victory for Consumers to Keep Free Directory Assistance Calls
Newark, N.J.—New Jersey Public Advocate Ronald K. Chen today said he was pleased the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) required Verizon New Jersey to provide consumers with four free residential directory assistance service calls per month.
The BPU said the service is not exempt from regulation. The Public Advocate’s Division of Ratepayer Counsel had supported this position.
Last week, the BPU denied Verizon’s request to eliminate free directory assistance calls and to declare this a competitive service, which would have allowed the company to escape regulation of directory assistance rates.
“This great victory for New Jersey consumers means savings of nearly $70 million a year, with each ratepayer saving about $24 each year for the first four free directory assistance calls,” Chen said. “I am extremely pleased about this savings.”
The ruling applies only to residential telephones.
Under a 2002 stipulation negotiated by Rate Counsel and the BPU, Verizon promised to provide four freedirectory assistance service calls per month and additional directory assistance calls at 50 cents per call. When Verizon filed its petition last year to change the agreement to eliminate the free calls, Rate Counsel subsequently filed testimony with the BPU opposing any changes in the quantity of free directory assistance calls and the reclassification of the service.
The Division of Rate Counsel is a division within the Department of the Public Advocate and represents the interests of consumers of electric, natural gas, water/sewer and telecommunications and cable TV service. Additional information on this and other utility matters can be found at the Division’s website at http://www.rpa.state.nj.us. The Department of the Public Advocate website is http://www.state.nj.us/publicadvocate.