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PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARINGS

 HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The first in a series of public input hearings on Bell of Pennsylvania's plan to alter the way it is regulated in Pennsylvania will be held by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) next week in the State College, Pa.; Lancaster, Pa.; and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Dupont), Pa., areas, it was announced today.
 According to Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate Irwin A. Popowsky, these hearings will give consumers an opportunity to comment on Bell's plan and on their concerns about telecommunications service and rates now and in the future. Under Bell's proposal, after June 1996, Bell may be allowed to raise its basic rates each year by an amount equal to the rate of general inflation minus 2.25 percent. Bell also is seeking to have some services declared to be competitive, which would allow the company to change rates for those services without PUC approval. The Bell plan also outlines Bell's proposal to develop a broadband network throughout its service area by the year 2015, which may allow a number of new voice, date and video services to be provided over the telecommunications network.
 Popowsky urged interested consumers to attend and present testimony at these hearings. "It is important that the Public Utility Commission hear from the consumers who will be asked to use and to pay for the new telecommunications network," Popowsky stated. "Our goal is to insure that consumers are able to receive the telecommunications services they wish to receive at rates that they can afford."
 A Public Utility Commission administrative law judge will preside over the hearings and representatives of the PUC, the telephone company, the Office of Consumer Advocate and other parties will be in attendance. The first set of hearings will be held on the following schedule:
 -- Monday, Nov. 8, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Mount Nittany United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall
 1500 E. Branch Road, State College
 -- Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Lancaster City Hall, Council Chambers
 100 S. Queen St., Lancaster
 -- Friday, Nov. 12, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Pittston Area Ben Franklin Kindergarten Center, Auditorium
 Walnut Street, Dupont
 Additional hearings are scheduled for Nov. 22 in the Harrisburg, Pa., area (Swatara Township); Nov. 29 in Uniontown, Pa.; Nov. 30 in Pittsburgh; Dec. 3 in Clarion, Pa.; Dec. 10 in Greensburg, Pa.; Dec. 15 in Media, Pa.; and Dec. 16 in Philadelphia. A complete schedule of locations and times for these hearings follows.
 -- Monday, Nov. 22, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Swatara Township Municipal Building, Council Chambers
 599 Eisenhower Blvd., Harrisburg
 -- Monday, Nov. 29, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Courthouse, Third Floor Conference Room
 61 E. Main St., Uniontown
 -- Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Allegheny County Court House, Gold Room
 436 Grant St., Pittsburgh
 -- Friday, Dec. 3, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Clarion County Children and Youth Services, Meeting Room
 500 Main St. (corner of 5th & Main), Clarion
 -- Friday, Dec. 10, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Westmoreland County Courthouse, Commissioners Public Meeting
 Room No. 3
 Courthouse Square, Greensburg
 -- Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 2 and 7 p.m.
 Media Borough Hall, Council Chambers
 State & Jackson streets, Media
 -- Thursday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m.
 Philadelphia State Office Building, Room 1306
 Broad & Spring Garden streets, Philadelphia
 -- Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m.
 Philadelphia City Hall, Room 400
 Philadelphia
 -0- 11/4/93
 /CONTACT: Susan Henry, consumer liaison, of Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, 717-783-5048/


CO: Bell of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission;
 Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


DM-CD -- PG012 -- 0723 11/04/93 12:23 EST
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Date:Nov 4, 1993
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