Preliminary Results of Survey Reveal Support for Elimination of Long Distance

Long distance charges between Carbon and Emery County may soon be a thing of the past if the Utah Public Service CommissionВ  approves an Extended Area Service (EAS) petition submitted by Emery Telcom. One benchmark in the process was reached last week when surveys of Carbon and Emery County Residents revealed that they supported the elimination.

Preliminary results of the surveys conducted on Jan. 31, of 259 Carbon residents and 249 Emery residents revealed that the EAS is supported by a 71 percent majority in Carbon County, and an 82 percent majority in Emery County. These results were reported to the Utah Division of public Utilities, Office of Consumer Protection, Emery Telcom, and Carbon/Emery Telcom for review and accuracy checks. Once the parties have finished their review, the results will finally be submitted to the Public Service Commission for additional discovery and possible approval.

As a community cooperative, Emery Telcom works to respond to the needs of the community, and initiated their petition in response to customers consistently requesting that the company eliminate long distance between the inter-reliant communities. Brock Johansen, the general manager of Emery Telcom explained what the local cooperative hopes the change will accomplish, saying, “Emery Telcom hopes that this EAS will stimulate communication and interaction between the counties and result in greater economic prosperity and a greater quality of life for the residents.”

The first step in the process was to determine the cost to provide the extended service area. Interestingly, Johansen revealed, these costs are not based upon the need to make up revenues that may be lost, but only upon the costs associated with providing the extended area service. In fact, the change was not intended to, nor will it result in any increased revenue to Emery Telcom.

The recent survey was the next step in the process, and according to their General Manager, the results were “very exciting,” not only for the Cooperative, but for businesses in the area. ” This should also result in significant savings for the businesses of the area. Emery and Carbon Counties are closely related. The coal and power industries draw employees and vendors from both counties. Further, the counties are linked with commerce and also with advanced education.

“All of this interaction and connectivity has resulted in many personal relationships that cross county boundaries. Once the EAS is implemented, then callsВ  between the counties will not incur long distance charges and customers will not have to use minutes in the cell phone plans, because they can use the landline and the costs are included in the EAS fee,” he explained.

Johansen hopes the EAS will be initiated by March or April, but stressed that nothing is final until the petition is granted through the Public Service Commission. Check back for more information on this notable story. We will update you as more information becomes available.

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