WV PSC: Frontier doesn’t seem to take audit seriously

February 6, 2019
Pictured is the West Virginia Public Service Commission's order from Jan. 30 of this year. There have been several complaints about Frontier's quality of serice.

CHARLESTON — Last week, the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia issued an order to Frontier West Virginia and Citizens Telecommunication Company of West Virginia to revise and complete its filings in the “Focused Management Audit” of Frontier’s operations.

“After receiving numerous and increasing complaints regarding Frontier’s quality of service, on Aug. 30, 2018, the Commission ordered a focused management audit of Frontier to determine if Frontier was operating efficiently, utilizing sound management practices and to identify those areas where Frontier was operating inefficiently,” according to a press release issued by the PSC.

The commission ordered that the audit be conducted by a qualified outside auditing firm and paid for by Frontier.

“The audit will focus on the current status of the copper network; adequacy of staffing levels dedicated to the copper network; adequacy of capital investment in the copper network since 2010; adequacy of policies and procedures impacting the quality of service; adequacy of metrics currently in place to measure quality of service; impact of the declining customer base on internal cash flow from operations relative to historic and current copper infrastructure maintenance and capital investment; and the impact of the current bargaining agreement and ongoing relations between management and labor on customer service quality and response timing,” the release stated.

The PSC says the audit is also to make appropriate recommendations for addressing those areas that need to be improved.

“Frontier informed the commission on Jan. 23, 2019, that it had missed several commission imposed deadlines, including the scheduled issuance of the RFP for the audit,” the release said. “Today’s (Wednesday) commission order directs Frontier to file all delinquent documents as soon as possible and to notify the commission immediately should it miss any additional timeline milestones.”

According to the latest ordered filed, the PSC staff stated that Frontier does not appear to be taking the focused management audit seriously.

“The lack of timeliness and the failure of Frontier to modify the open letter to interested consultant/firms and timeline as directed are matters of concern to the commission in that they appear to reflect a lack of attention by Frontier to this proceeding,” the new order said. “Over 50 protests have been filed throughout the pendency of this case. Additionally, there are over 100 active informal and over 60 active formal complaints against Frontier in 2018 (up from 38 in 2017). Delays in this procedure benefit no one.”

The order said Frontier should notify the PSC immediately regarding any additional slips in meeting the milestones on the timeline.

On Friday, Feb. 1, Frontier responded to the PSC stating it is soliciting proposals to conduct a focused management audit of Frontier’s operations in West Virginia and interested parties should submit a proposal to perform the audit by Monday, March 4, 2019.

Messages seeking comment from Frontier Communications media contact for West Virginia was not immediately returned.

Additional information is available on the Commission website at www.psc.state.wv.us by referencing Case No. 18-0291-T-P.

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