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GTE FLORIDA TAKES PRELIMINARY STEP TOWARD POSSIBLE RATE REVIEW APPLICATION

 GTE FLORIDA TAKES PRELIMINARY STEP
 TOWARD POSSIBLE RATE REVIEW APPLICATION
 TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE Florida today requested that the Florida Public Service Commission approve a test period on which the company could base a rate review application later this spring. Whether a request will be filed and the amount of increase GTE would request are still under study. If new rates are sought they would go into effect early in 1993, representing the company's first general rate increase in 11 years.
 GTE Florida's basic local service rates have not increased since 1981. In 1990, some of GTE's rates actually decreased when GTE implemented a one-time $24.0 million refund and a permanent rate reduction of $21.4 million after a Florida Public Service Commission review of the impact of the Federal Tax Reform Act of 1986.
 "Over the past 10 years cost reduction efforts and growth in demand for services have enabled GTE to stabilize rates for over a decade despite an inflation rate which averaged 4.4 percent per year from 1981 to 1991," said Peter A. Daks, regional vice president/general manager-Florida. "Now that access line growth has slowed and 30 percent of GTE Florida's products and services are subject to competition, it's clear that despite continuing efforts to reduce costs, 1981 rates will not cover 1993 costs."
 GTE has taken steps to control operating expenses while enhancing quality and reliability of service. For example, the installation of new technology such as digital switches and inter-office fiber optic trunks has lead to new efficiencies and a reduced workforce because they require less maintenance.
 Three major factors affecting GTE's 1993 costs are:
 -- A Federal Accounting Standards Board rule that all large,
 publicly owned companies set aside funds for the cost of
 post-retirement health care benefits while the employees are
 working.
 -- A Federal Communications Commission rule which requires GTE
 Florida to shift charges for some equipment and operations
 expenses from calls between states to calls within the state.
 -- Depreciation expenses associated with new technology installed
 to improve quality and reliability and to lower costs in the
 long run.
 If an application is filed, public hearings on GTE's request would probably be held this fall. A decision on any request could come in December.
 GTE Florida, a part of GTE Telephone Operations, provides business and residential telecommunications services via approximately 1.8 million access lines for customers in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties. GTE Telephone Operations serves approximately 18.7 million access lines in portions of 40 states and two foreign countries.
 -0- 2/28/92
 /CONTACT: Jan Morris, 813-224-4433 (800-282-7751 eve. and weekend); or Jim Marzano, 813-224-6614, (800-282-7751 eve. and weekend), both of GTE/ CO: GTE ST: Florida IN: TLS SU:


AW-JJ -- FL004 -- 3705 02/28/92 12:10 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 28, 1992
Words:465
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