Media Inquiries

 
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) is a quasi-judicial agency that regulates utilities and pipeline carriers in the State of Alaska. 

Pursuant to 3 AAC 48.020(g), a commissioner, presiding officer, or commission staff member may not, except upon reasonable notice and opportunity for all parties to participate, communicate with a party, and other affected persons, about any issue of fact, law, or policy in a pending adjudicatory proceeding. 

If you are media representative and have a question about a pending proceeding, please review the record of the proceeding before contacting the agency's media liaison.  The RCA's website contains comprehensive information regarding matters of pending and closed dockets, utility tariffs, statutes, rules and regulations. Please use the Advanced Search or Search by Type feature to find the information you are looking for. 

If you find that you still need assistance, please contact Ms. Grace Salazar, media liaison and chief of the RCA Consumer Protection & Information Section, at (907) 263-2134 or via email at grace.salazar@alaska.gov.


PRESS RELEASES
You can subscribe to receive an RSS Feed of RCA Press Releases.

LINKS AND RESOURCES



GLOSSARY OF UTILITY-RELATED TERMS
E911: An abbreviated dialing code that directs emergency calls to police, fire, and emergency services.

2-1-1: An abbreviated dialing code that directs callers to health and human services information and referral providers.

ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution): ADR refers to any means of settling disputes, usually presided by a hearing examiner, administrative law judge, mediator or an arbitrator.

AUSF (Alaska Universal Service Fund): This local charge is similar to the Federal Universal Service Fund. The Alaska USF provides support for three different programs: Lifeline & Link Up, DEM Weighting and Public Interest Pay Telephone. Lifeline helps reduce the local monthly charge for low-income customers. DEM Weighting provides support to certain small local exchange companies with high switching costs. The PIPT program supports the cost of pay telephones in locations where they are needed for health, safety and public welfare and would not otherwise exists as a result of the operation of competitive market.

Broadband: A term that refers to the ability to transmit data at high rates of speed (45Mb/s and above). Usually associated with the transmission of data, multimedia audio and video (such as high-speed Internet access), it may also be part of private networks. Visit our website to learn about the Rural Alaska Broadband Internet Access Grant Program.

Ccf: One hundred cubic feet; a unit used to measure natural gas usage.

CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier): A local telephone company that competes with the incumbent local exchange carrier (or ILEC, see below) for the local telephone business of customers.

COPA (Cost of Power Adjustment):  A mechanism that allows a power company to adjust its rates to coincide with changes in fuel costs (3 AAC 52.503).  

CPCN (Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity): CPCN is a certificate by which all public utilities and pipeline carriers are required to obtain from the RCA before operating and receiving compensation for providing a commodity or service (AS 42.05.221).

CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information):  CPNI refers to any information collected by telecommunications service providers, including but not limited to: billing records, type of services that subscribers are receiving, call details and history, and other customer information.  To learn more about the FCC's CPNI rules, download the FCC's Order here.  

Cramming: Cramming is billing for optional services that you never requested or authorized. The RCA has developed rules to prevent cramming by requiring complete and accurate disclosure of services and charges on a consumer's telephone bill (3 AAC 52.230).

DTV (Digital TV 2009 Transition): Congress mandated all full-power broadcast television stations to stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital effective February 17, 2009.  Converting to DTV will free up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast spectrum.  Those portions of the spectrum can then be used for other important public safety services (e.g., police and fire departments, emergency rescue) and advanced wireless services.  Digital broadcasting will also allow stations to offer improved picture and sound quality and additional channels.  To learn more about the DTV transition, go to the FCC's DTV webpage located here.

ESSS (Electric Service & Safety Standards):  These are set of rules for electric companies in providing services to customers in Alaska (3 AAC 52.400 - 3 AAC 52.500).
 
FCC (Federal Communications Commission): An independent U.S. government agency charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

FET (Federal Excise Tax): A 3% charge on all telecommunications services, including local, long distance and wireless bills.

FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission): An independent U.S. government agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity.

GCA (Gas Cost Adjustment): A mechanism that provides a dollar-for-dollar recovery of costs incurred by a local utility to purchase and deliver natural gas to its system. The GCA rate enables the local utility to correct any over or under collections of natural gas costs in previous periods (3 AAC 52.505).

Incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC): The “traditional” local telephone company in a geographic region.

Local Number Portability (LNP): A procedure that allows consumers to keep their telephone number when they switch local service from one telephone carrier to another.

Mcf: One thousand cubic feet; a unit used to measure natural gas usage.

NAF (Network Access Fee): The NAF is designed to recover a portion of the cost of the "local loop" (i.e., the wires and associated local network facilities that connect a telephone customer to the local telephone company's central office switch). All local exchange carriers must charge the NAF. However, other types of carriers, such as cellular and long distance companies, will not charge the NAF. For further information about the NAF, the Commission has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help answer consumer inquiries related to the NAF.

National “Do-Not-Call” Registry: A list maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that allows consumers to have their telephone number removed from databases used by telemarketers. Consumers can register for the national do-not-call registry either online or at http://www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free (888) 382-1222.

NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Commissioners)

PCE (Power Cost Equalization Program):  A program funded by the Alaska Energy Authority to reduce the electric bills of residential customers living in rural communities. For more information about the PCE, please refer to the Power Cost Equalization Brochure.

PIPT (Public Interest Pay Telephone)

RCC (Regulatory Cost Charges): Charge incurred through legislation to fund the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (3 AAC 47.010).

RAPA (Regulatory Affairs & Public Advocacy):  A section within the Alaska Office of the Attorney General, which advocates on behalf of the public interest in utility matters that come before the RCA.

SRF (Simplified Rate Filing): SRF is a process in which an electric cooperative may adjust its rates as frequently as quarterly but may not exceed a cumulative 20 percent in any three-year period or a cumulative eight percent in a 12-month period.  Rate adjustments under SRF regulations are in addition to purchased and fuel cost rate adjustments (AS 42.05.381(e) and 3 AAC 48.700).

Slamming: Slamming is when your telecommunications provider is changed without your authorization. You should immediately contact your original carrier and advise that your local telephone (or long distance) service was changed without authorization. You should also contact the company that requested the unauthorized switch and request a refund or credit and make sure you do not get monthly recurring charges (for example, some long distance companies charge a flat long distance calling plan billed monthly.

STMP (State Telecommunications Modernization Plan): RCA rules that assure that telephone companies provide all consumers with adequate service at minimum requirements and standards (3 AAC 53.700).

Tariff: A tariff is a set of policies and procedures or terms and conditions under which a utility offers its services and facilities. A legally filed and effective tariff rate, charge, toll, rental, rule, regulation, or condition of service may not be changed except in the manner provided in AS 42.05.371.

TA (Tariff Advice): A tariff advice is filing procedure by which utility companies follow to change its legally filed and effective tariff rate, charge, toll, rental, rule, regulation, or condition of service. The review process for the filing prescribed by AS 42.05.361 - AS 42.05.441, includes a period for public comment (published under Notices in local newspapers) and allows the Commission to approve, reject, or suspend the tariff filing for further investigation. For most utilities, this review process takes 45 days.

Telecommunications Act of 1996: Federal legislation that, among other things, permitted former Bell operating companies to enter the long distance telephone business.

UAS (Universal Access Surcharge): This surcharge, also commonly referred to as the TRS surcharge, is for Telecommunications Relay Service centers that transmit and translate calls between hearing individuals and individuals who are hearing or speech impaired. The Alaska's TRS carrier is South Dakota Association of the Deaf d/b/a Alaska Relay, CSD of Alaska. Currently, the TRS rates are 10 cents/line/month for residential and single line business customers and 20 cents/line/month for multi line business customers.

VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): The use of the Internet Protocol (a data transmission protocol) to transmit and switch (or “route”) voice messages which have been converted to data.  VoIP may include the use of the Internet, private networks, and/or the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN, see above) to carry or complete calls. VoIP is sometimes referred to as IP Telephony.

WLNP (Wireless Local Number Portability): Local Number Portability (LNP, see above) applied to and between wireless carriers and between wireless and traditional or competitive telephone carriers.

To view the statutes and regulations cited above, click here.


 


Date Issued: 6/24/2013