Verizon fined for slow service

Verizon North Inc. has been fined $250,000 for not restoring customers' home telephone service promptly, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio announced last week. It's the second such fine within a year, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Verizon North Inc. has been fined $250,000 for not restoring customers' home telephone service promptly, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio announced last week.

It's the second such fine within a year, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

After Verizon customers complained about repair problems last year, the company invested $1 million in its Ohio operations and paid the state a $250,000 penalty, as directed by the PUCO in May.

The company made an agreement with the PUCO to improve its service quality or face another fine, the commission said.

The most recent fine, issued Wednesday, arises from Verizon customers' service problems in the Norwalk and Portsmouth areas reported in August and December, respectively. The company did not make the repairs during those outages as required, the PUCO said.

Companies must restore service to a district within 24 hours of an outage at least 85 percent of the time, according to the PUCO.

In a statement, Verizon said that severe weather in northern Ohio impaired its ability to fix the August outages and that the company continues to invest in its network and employees.

The PUCO denied Verizon's request for an exemption from service requirements based on the weather.

The Ohio Office of Consumers' Counsel, a utility-customer advocate, said the penalties against Verizon are appropriate.

"Residential customers of Verizon deserve reliable home telephone service," Janine Migden-Ostrander, Ohio consumers' counsel, said in a statement. "When the company cannot promptly restore service during an outage, it must be held accountable."