Hearing to be held to discuss proposed phone regulations

YOUNGSTOWN -- A utility advocacy group will have a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Youngstown city hall for Youngstown, Struthers, Campbell, Lowellville and Coitsville residents to discuss proposed local telephone company regulations.
The Ohio Consumers' Counsel will file testimony heard at the meeting with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as part of its official case against the telephone proposal, said state Rep. Sylvester Patton Jr. of Youngstown, who announced the meeting.
The proposal would limit the PUCO's authority to regulate and oversee all but the most basic residential phone services and allow companies to increase rates for services such as Caller ID, call waiting and call forwarding, said Patton, D-64th.
"This will allow local phone companies to charge whatever they want for basic services," he said. "I'm opposed to that because it will affect so many consumers and they won't have a say on this."
An OCC official said it chose to have a town hall meeting on the issue in Youngstown because the PUCO excluded the city from its list of seven public hearings it is holding throughout the state about the proposal.
"We want to have the voices of the Mahoning Valley heard," Patton said.

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