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US West Ordered To Refund $12.9M

January 8, 2000

DENVER (AP) _ U S West failed to meet service standards in Colorado and must refund about $12.9 million in payments to its customers, the state Public Utilities Commission ruled Friday.

The refunds, to be provided as one-time bill credits, would range from 51 cents to nearly $20 per customer, depending on the number and duration of service problems, the PUC said.

U S West customers from around the state complained the company failed to meet standards such as providing new basic phone service within 150 working days of an initial customer order and repairing most broken equipment within 24 hours.

U S West spokeswoman Anna Osborn said the Denver-based Baby Bell has 20 days from when it receives the commission’s order to decide whether to ask the three-member panel to reconsider. She said it was too early to tell whether the company would do so.

Later Friday, the commission unanimously approved the merger between U S West and Denver-based telecommunications company Qwest Communications International.

The deal, originally valued at $48 billion, already has been approved by federal antitrust regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Still pending is approval from the Federal Communications Commission and regulators in the seven other states in which both companies operate, Ms. Osborn said.

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