Public Utility Commission hits CenturyLink with sanctions in Rogue Valley

SOUTHERN OREGON, —Telecommunications company, CenturyLink, is being hit with penalties. For one, the Oregon Public Utility Commission is suspending the company’s ability to raise rates.

This comes after numerous complaints were reported against CenturyLink, from residents about their service in the Applegate Valley area.  We previously told you that some Applegate Valley residents were struggling to get reliable landline phone service. The PUC even launched an investigation into CenturyLink’s parent company, Lumen Technologies. Now customers, are getting some action on their complaints.

“In the time of need CenturyLink our local landline provider will not give us reliable phone service so we can reach 911 in an emergency,” said Applegate Valley resident, Priscilla Weaver.

Frustration for some in the Applegate area, with landline service through CenturyLink.

Weaver says she’s going on a month with a malfunctioning landline, with calls going dead or dropping, after just seconds.

“We’re each paying for this service and we’re not paying for service that works on Tuesdays and the next Friday then three weeks from now, we’re paying for service that’s supposed to work 24/7 and we’re not getting it,” said Weaver.

The Public Utility Commission or PUC confirmed it received a number of comments about Lumen Technologies -CenturyLink’s parent company. Now it’s taking a step to address the issue.

“We are here to recommend that the commission extend, not suspend the current 4-year plan of the Lumen price plan for up to 9 months to allow time to investigate and propose modifications to the price plan to insure the price plan is in the public interest,” said Marc Hellman with the PUC.

Last Tuesday, the PUC discussed CenturyLink’s issues in Jacksonville and surrounding areas. This week it’s announcing penalties and fines against the utility while restricting their ability to raise rates.

“Lumen supports such an investigation and we commit to working with staff and reviewing the issues and all the matters associated with the company’s price plan,” said Peter Gose with Lumen Technologies.

While the investigation is underway, the PUC is also requiring the company to have a dedicated customer support line for residential customers. The telecommunications company must also address all repair tickets and make repairs to customer satisfaction within 48 hours. The PUC says if Lumen is unable to meet those requirements, it will issue a fine of up to $50,000 for each day of the violation until its resolved.

Weaver, who’s been pushing for action from the PUC for years, is pleased to finally see something tangible. But she says what comes next is what matters most.

“We are very pleased that after waiting 10 months, the PUC has issued an explicit order that sets an explicit deadline and that uses the power and authority they have,” said Weaver.

Lumen is directing customers with a service address in the 97530 zip code who are experiencing service quality issues to call their dedicated customer service line at 844-304-5337. For all other inquiries outside the 97530 zip code, call 800-244-1111. The PUC’s Consumer Information Center is also available for questions about your utility bill or help resolving a dispute with your utility at (800)-522-2404 or [email protected].

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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