2nd Engrossment - 80th Legislature (1997 - 1998) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to regulated industries; modifying certain 1.3 provisions of power purchase contracts and biomass 1.4 fuel exemptions; lengthening exemption period for 1.5 large telephone company to change rates; modifying 1.6 provisions for public utilities commission to assess 1.7 costs of certain proceedings; providing additional 1.8 antislamming and disclosure requirements on 1.9 long-distance service providers; clarifying 1.10 requirements relating to notification of price 1.11 increases; requiring provision of international toll 1.12 blocking; amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, sections 1.13 216B.2424, subdivision 3; 237.295; 237.66, 1.14 subdivisions 1a, 3, and by adding subdivisions; 1.15 237.74, subdivision 6, and by adding a subdivision; 1.16 and 325F.692, subdivision 1; Minnesota Statutes 1997 1.17 Supplement, sections 216B.1645; 237.072; and 237.163, 1.18 subdivision 8; proposing coding for new law in 1.19 Minnesota Statutes, chapter 237; repealing Minnesota 1.20 Statutes 1996, section 325F.692, subdivision 8; 1.21 Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 237.66, 1.22 subdivision 1b. 1.23 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.24 Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 1.25 216B.1645, is amended to read: 1.26 216B.1645 [POWER PURCHASE CONTRACTS OR INVESTMENTS.] 1.27 Upon the petition of a public utility, the public utilities 1.28 commission shall approve or disapprove power purchase contracts 1.29 or investments entered into or made by the utility to satisfy 1.30 the wind and biomass mandates contained in sections 216B.2423 1.31 and 216B.2424. The expenses incurred
in accordance with the1.32 contract and the reasonable investments made by a public utility1.33 with the approval of the commission shall be included by the1.34 commission in its determination of just and reasonable rates.by 2.1 the utility over the duration of the approved contract or useful 2.2 life of the investment shall be recoverable from the ratepayers 2.3 of the utility, to the extent they are not offset by utility 2.4 revenues attributable to the contracts or investments. Upon 2.5 petition by a public utility, the commission shall approve or 2.6 approve as modified a rate schedule providing for the automatic 2.7 adjustment of charges to recover the expenses or costs approved 2.8 by the commission. Nothing in this section shall be construed 2.9 to determine the manner or extent to which revenues derived from 2.10 other generation facilities of the utility may be considered in 2.11 determining the recovery of the approved cost or expenses 2.12 associated with the mandated contracts or investments in the 2.13 event there is retail competition for electric energy. 2.14 Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 216B.2424, 2.15 subdivision 3, is amended to read: 2.16 Subd. 3. [FUEL EXEMPTION.] Over the duration of the 2.17 contract of a biomass power facility selected to satisfy the 2.18 mandate in subdivision 5, fuel sources that are not biomass may 2.19 be used to satisfy up to 25 percent of the fuel requirements of 2.20 a biomass power facility selected to satisfy the biomass power 2.21 mandate in subdivision 5. A biomass power facility selected to 2.22 satisfy the mandate in subdivision 5 also may use fuel sources 2.23 that are not biomass during any period when biomass fuel sources 2.24 are not reasonably available to the facility due to any 2.25 circumstances constituting an act of God. Fuel sources that are 2.26 not biomass used during such a period of biomass fuel source 2.27 unavailability shall not be counted toward the 25 percent 2.28 exemption provided in this subdivision. For purposes of this 2.29 subdivision, "act of God" means any natural disaster or other 2.30 natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable, or 2.31 irresistible character, including, but not limited to, flood, 2.32 fire, drought, earthquake, and crop failure resulting from 2.33 climatic conditions, infestation, or disease. 2.34 Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 2.35 237.072, is amended to read: 2.36 237.072 [LIMITATION ON RATE CHANGES.] 3.1 (a) After December 15, 1997, the commission, 3.2 notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, shall not allow 3.3 an incumbent telephone company with more than 1,000,000 access 3.4 lines in Minnesota to change its retail rates for 3.5 telecommunications services without a determination of its 3.6 revenue requirement pursuant to section 237.075 unless the 3.7 incumbent telephone company is regulated pursuant to sections 3.8 237.76 to 237.773. 3.9 (b) If, prior to December 15, 1997, the incumbent telephone 3.10 company petitions the commission to become subject to an 3.11 alternative regulation plan under sections 237.76 to 237.773, 3.12 paragraph (a) shall not apply to the petitioning company until 3.13 180270 days after the date of the filing of the petition. 3.14 Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 3.15 237.163, subdivision 8, is amended to read: 3.16 Subd. 8. [UNIFORM STATEWIDE STANDARDS.] (a) To ensure the 3.17 safe and convenient use of public rights-of-way in the state, 3.18 the public utilities commission shall develop and adopt by March3.19 1, 1998June 1, 1999, statewide construction standards for the 3.20 purposes of achieving substantial statewide uniformity in 3.21 construction standards where appropriate, providing competitive 3.22 neutrality among telecommunications right-of-way users, and 3.23 permitting efficient use of technology. The standards shall 3.24 govern: 3.25 (1) the terms and conditions of right-of-way construction, 3.26 excavation, maintenance, and repair; and 3.27 (2) the terms and conditions under which telecommunications 3.28 facilities and equipment are placed in the public right-of-way. 3.29 (b) The public utilities commission is authorized to 3.30 review, upon complaint by an aggrieved telecommunications 3.31 right-of-way user, a decision or regulation by a local 3.32 government unit that is alleged to violate a statewide standard. 3.33 (c) A local unit of government may not adopt an ordinance 3.34 or other regulation that conflicts with a standard adopted by 3.35 the commission for the purposes described in paragraph (a). 3.36 Sec. 5. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.295, is 4.1 amended to read: 4.2 237.295 [ASSESSMENT OF REGULATORY EXPENSES.] 4.3 Subdivision 1. [PAYMENT FOR INVESTIGATIONS.] (a) Whenever 4.4 the department or commission, in a proceeding upon its own 4.5 motion, on complaint, or upon an application to it, considers it 4.6 necessary, in order to carry out the duties imposed on it, to 4.7 investigate the books, accounts, practices, and activities of ,4.8 or make appraisals of the property of, a telephoneany company, 4.9 or to render engineering or accounting services to a telephone4.10 company, the telephone companyparties to the proceeding shall 4.11 pay the expenses reasonably attributable to the investigation,4.12 appraisal, or serviceproceeding. The department and commission 4.13 shall ascertain the expenses, and the department shall render a 4.14 bill for those expenses to the telephone companyparties, either4.15 at the conclusion of the investigation, appraisal, or services,4.16 or from time to time during its progressproceeding. The 4.17 department is authorized to submit billings to parties at 4.18 intervals selected by the department during the course of a 4.19 proceeding. 4.20 (b) The allocation of costs may be adjusted for cause by 4.21 the commission during the course of the proceeding, or upon the 4.22 closing of the docket and issuance of an order. In addition to 4.23 the rights granted in subdivision 3, parties to a proceeding may 4.24 object to the allocation at any time during the proceeding. 4.25 Withdrawal by a party to a proceeding does not absolve the party 4.26 from paying allocated costs as determined by the commission. 4.27 The commission may decide that a party should not pay any 4.28 allocated costs of the proceeding. 4.29 (c) The bill constitutes notice of the assessment and a 4.30 demand for payment. The amount of the bills assessed by the 4.31 department under this subdivision must be paid by the telephone4.32 companyparties into the state treasury within 30 days from the 4.33 date of assessment. The total amount, in a calendar year, for 4.34 which a telephone company may become liable, by reason of costs 4.35 incurred by the department and commission within that calendar 4.36 year, may not exceed two-fifths of one percent of the gross 5.1 jurisdictional operating revenue of the telephone company in the 5.2 last preceding calendar year. Direct charges may be assessed 5.3 without regard to this limitation until the gross jurisdictional 5.4 operating revenue of the telephone company for the preceding 5.5 calendar year has been reported for the first time. Where, 5.6 under this subdivision, costs are incurred within a calendar 5.7 year that are in excess of two-fifths of one percent of the 5.8 gross jurisdictional operating revenues, the excess costs are 5.9 not chargeable as part of the remainder under subdivision 2 , but5.10 must be paid out of the general appropriation of the department. 5.11 (d) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (e), for 5.12 purposes of assessing the cost of a proceeding to a party, 5.13 "party" means any entity or group subject to the laws and rules 5.14 of this state, however organized, whether public or private, 5.15 whether domestic or foreign, whether for profit or nonprofit, 5.16 and whether natural, corporate, or political, such as a business 5.17 or commercial enterprise organized as any type or combination of 5.18 corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited 5.19 liability partnership, proprietorship, association, cooperative, 5.20 joint venture, carrier, or utility, and any successor or 5.21 assignee of any of them; a social or charitable organization; 5.22 and any type or combination of political subdivision, which 5.23 includes the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of the 5.24 state, a local government unit, an agency of the state or a 5.25 local government unit, or a combination of any of them. 5.26 (e) For assessment and billing purposes, "party" does not 5.27 include the department of public service or the residential 5.28 utilities division of the office of attorney general; any entity 5.29 or group instituted primarily for the purpose of mutual help and 5.30 not conducted for profit; intervenors awarded compensation under 5.31 section 237.075, subdivision 10; or any individual or group or 5.32 counsel for the individual or group representing the interests 5.33 of end users or classes of end users of services provided by 5.34 telephone companies or telecommunications carriers, as 5.35 determined by the commission. 5.36 Subd. 2. [ASSESSMENT OF COSTS.] The department and 6.1 commission shall quarterly, at least 30 days before the start of 6.2 each quarter, estimate the total of their expenditures in the 6.3 performance of their duties relating to telephone companies, 6.4 other than amounts chargeable to telephone companies under 6.5 subdivision 1, 5, or 6. The remainder must be assessed by the 6.6 department to the telephone companies operating in this state in 6.7 proportion to their respective gross jurisdictional operating 6.8 revenues during the last calendar year. The assessment must be 6.9 paid into the state treasury within 30 days after the bill has 6.10 been mailed to the telephone companies. The bill constitutes 6.11 notice of the assessment and demand of payment. The total 6.12 amount that may be assessed to the telephone companies under 6.13 this subdivision may not exceed one-eighth of one percent of the 6.14 total gross jurisdictional operating revenues during the 6.15 calendar year. The assessment for the third quarter of each 6.16 fiscal year must be adjusted to compensate for the amount by 6.17 which actual expenditures by the commission and department for 6.18 the preceding fiscal year were more or less than the estimated 6.19 expenditures previously assessed. A telephone company with 6.20 gross jurisdictional operating revenues of less than $5,000 is 6.21 exempt from assessments under this subdivision. 6.22 Subd. 3. [OBJECTIONS.] Within 30 days after the date of 6.23 the mailing of any bill as provided by subdivisions 1 and, 2, 5, 6.24 and 6, the telephone companyparties to the proceeding, against 6.25 which the bill has been assessed, may file with the commission 6.26 objections setting out the grounds upon which it is claimed the 6.27 bill is excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid. The 6.28 commission shall within 60 days provide for a contested case6.29 hearing andissue an order in accordance with its findings. The 6.30 order shall be appealable in the same manner as other final 6.31 orders of the commission. 6.32 Subd. 4. [INTEREST IMPOSED.] The amounts assessed against 6.33 any telephone company or other party that is not paid after 30 6.34 days after the mailing of a notice advising the telephone 6.35 company or other party of the amount assessed against it, shall 6.36 draw interest at the rate of six percent per annum, and upon 7.1 failure to pay the assessment the attorney general shall proceed 7.2 by action in the name of the state against the telephone company 7.3 or other party to collect the amount due, together with interest 7.4 and the cost of the suit. 7.5 Subd. 5. [ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING COSTS; APPROPRIATION.] 7.6 Any amounts billed to the commission or the department by the 7.7 office of administrative hearings for telephonecontested case 7.8 hearings held pursuant to section 237.25 shall be assessed by 7.9 the commissioner or the department against the telephone company7.10 parties to the proceeding. The assessment shall be paid into 7.11 the state treasury within 30 days after a bill, which 7.12 constitutes notice of the assessment and demand for payment of 7.13 it, has been mailed to the telephone companyparties. Money 7.14 received shall be credited to a special account and is 7.15 appropriated to the commissioner or the department for payment 7.16 to the office of administrative hearings. 7.17 Subd. 6. [EXTENDED AREA SERVICE BALLOTING ACCOUNT; 7.18 APPROPRIATION.] The extended area service balloting account is 7.19 created as a separate account in the special revenue fund in the 7.20 state treasury. The commission shall render separate bills to 7.21 telephone companies only for direct balloting costs incurred by 7.22 the commission under section 237.161. The bill constitutes 7.23 notice of the assessment and demand of payment. The amount of a 7.24 bill assessed by the commission under this subdivision must be 7.25 paid by the telephone company into the state treasury within 30 7.26 days from the date of assessment. Money received under this 7.27 subdivision must be credited to the extended area service 7.28 balloting account and is appropriated to the commission. 7.29 Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.66, 7.30 subdivision 1a, is amended to read: 7.31 Subd. 1a. [NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS; RIGHT TO REQUIRE PRIOR 7.32 AUTHORIZATION.] (a)Each residential and commercial 7.33 telecommunications carrier customer may elect to require that 7.34 the telephone company serving the customer receive authorization 7.35 from the customer before a request to serve that customer from a 7.36 different intrastate telecommunications carrier than the carrier 8.1 currently serving the customer is processed. 8.2 (b) For new installations, a telephone company shall notify8.3 a residential or commercial customer of the right described in8.4 paragraph (a) when the customer initially requests intraexchange8.5 service.8.6 (c) Within one year of January 1, 1997, a8.7 telecommunications carrier shall notify each of its existing8.8 residential and commercial customers of the right described in8.9 paragraph (a). The notice may be made as a billing insert. Any8.10 customer notification of the rights set forth in this8.11 subdivision shall be provided utilizing uniform, competitively8.12 neutral language and the form, content, and style of the8.13 authorization shall be consistent with federal law and8.14 regulation and shall use language provided and approved by the8.15 public utilities commission.8.16 (d) A customer may change this election at any time by8.17 notifying the telephone company of that decision. No separate8.18 charge may be imposed on the customer for electing to exercise8.19 the right described in paragraph (a) or to change that election,8.20 but a telephone company may recover in rates the reasonable8.21 costs of administering the election.8.22 (e) If a customer has elected to exercise the right8.23 described in paragraph (a), the telephone company shall not8.24 process a request to serve the customer by another8.25 telecommunications carrier without prior authorization from the8.26 customer. If a customer has not elected to exercise the right8.27 described in paragraph (a), the company may process a request to8.28 serve the customer by another telecommunications carrier.8.29 (f) A carrier may request such a change if the customer has8.30 authorized the change either orally or in writing signed by the8.31 customer. If the carrier requests a change in a customer's8.32 service provider, the carrier must:8.33 (1) notify the customer in writing that the request has8.34 been processed; and8.35 (2) be able to present, upon complaint by the customer,8.36 verified authorization for the change by the customer.9.1 If the initial authorization was made orally, the carrier9.2 must be able to present verified authorization received from the9.3 customer within 14 business days of the date the oral9.4 authorization was made.9.5 (g) In the case of an oral authorization, if a9.6 telecommunications carrier does not receive the verified9.7 authorization within 14 business days of the date of the oral9.8 authorization, the carrier must either bear the risk that the9.9 change to the service of the carrier will be deemed unauthorized9.10 under paragraph (h) or:9.11 (1) immediately return the customer to the service of the9.12 customer's original service provider;9.13 (2) bear all costs associated with returning the customer;9.14 and9.15 (3) bill the customer for services rendered at the rate the9.16 customer would have paid for such services if the request to9.17 serve the customer had not been made.9.18 (h) If the carrier is not able to present, upon complaint9.19 by the customer, verified authorization received from the9.20 customer as required under paragraph (f) and the carrier did not9.21 return the customer to the service of the customer's original9.22 service provider as required under paragraph (g), the change to9.23 the service of the carrier shall be deemed to be unauthorized9.24 from the date the carrier requested the change. In that event,9.25 the carrier shall:9.26 (1) bear all costs of immediately returning the customer to9.27 the service of the customer's original service provider; and9.28 (2) bear all costs of serving that customer during the9.29 period of unauthorized service.9.30 (i) For purposes of paragraphs (f), (g), and (h),9.31 authorization required in those paragraphs may be verified9.32 utilizing any method that is consistent with federal law and9.33 regulation.9.34 Sec. 7. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.66, is 9.35 amended by adding a subdivision to read: 9.36 Subd. 1c. [TIMING OF NOTICE; NEW CUSTOMERS.] For new 10.1 installations, a telephone company shall notify a residential or 10.2 commercial customer of the right described in subdivision 1a 10.3 when the customer initially requests intraexchange service. Any 10.4 customer notification of the rights set forth in this section 10.5 shall be provided utilizing uniform, competitively neutral 10.6 language and the form, content, and style of the authorization 10.7 shall be consistent with federal law and regulation and shall 10.8 use language provided and approved by the public utilities 10.9 commission. 10.10 Sec. 8. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.66, is 10.11 amended by adding a subdivision to read: 10.12 Subd. 1d. [CHANGE OF ELECTION.] A customer may change the 10.13 election under subdivision 1a at any time by notifying the 10.14 telephone company of that decision. No separate charge may be 10.15 imposed on the customer for electing to exercise the right 10.16 described in subdivision 1a or to change that election, but a 10.17 telephone company may recover in rates the reasonable costs of 10.18 administering the election. 10.19 Sec. 9. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.66, 10.20 subdivision 3, is amended to read: 10.21 Subd. 3. [ENFORCEMENT.] If, after an expedited procedure 10.22 conducted under section 237.61, the commission finds that a 10.23 telephone company is failing to provide disclosure as required 10.24 under subdivision 1, or the notification required under 10.25 subdivision 1a, paragraphs (b) and (c)subdivision 1c, it shall 10.26 order the company to take corrective action as necessary. 10.27 Sec. 10. [237.661] [ANTISLAMMING.] 10.28 Subdivision 1. [ANTISLAMMING DUTIES OF LOCAL TELEPHONE 10.29 COMPANY.] If a customer has elected to exercise the right 10.30 described in section 237.66, subdivision 1a, the telephone 10.31 company serving the customer shall not process a request to 10.32 serve the customer by another telecommunications carrier without 10.33 prior authorization from the customer. If a customer has not 10.34 elected to exercise the right described in that subdivision, the 10.35 company may process a request to serve the customer by another 10.36 telecommunications carrier. 11.1 Subd. 2. [ANTISLAMMING DUTIES OF SOLICITING CARRIER.] (a) 11.2 A telecommunications carrier may request that the telephone 11.3 company serving a customer process a change in that customer's 11.4 long-distance provider, if the customer has authorized the 11.5 change either orally or in writing signed by the customer. 11.6 Prior to requesting a change in a customer's long-distance 11.7 service provider, the carrier must confirm: 11.8 (1) the customer's identity with information unique to the 11.9 customer, unless the customer refused to provide identifying 11.10 information, then that fact should be noted; 11.11 (2) that the customer has been informed of the offering 11.12 made by the carrier; 11.13 (3) that the customer understands that the customer is 11.14 being requested to change telecommunication carriers; 11.15 (4) that the customer has the authority to authorize the 11.16 change; and 11.17 (5) that the customer agrees to the change. 11.18 (b) After requesting the change in long-distance service 11.19 provider, the carrier must: 11.20 (1) notify the customer in writing that the request has 11.21 been processed; and 11.22 (2) be able to produce, upon complaint by the customer, 11.23 evidence that the carrier verified the authorization by the 11.24 customer to change the customer's long-distance service 11.25 provider. If the carrier used a negative check-off verification 11.26 procedure as defined in subdivision 4, paragraph (c), the 11.27 evidence must include a tape recording of the initial oral 11.28 authorization. 11.29 Subd. 3. [PENALTY FOR SLAMMING.] If the carrier is not 11.30 able to present, upon complaint by the customer, evidence that 11.31 complies with subdivision 2, paragraph (b), clause (2), the 11.32 change to the service of the carrier is deemed to be 11.33 unauthorized from the date the carrier requested the change. In 11.34 that event, the carrier shall: 11.35 (1) bear all costs of immediately returning the customer to 11.36 the service of the customer's original service provider; and 12.1 (2) bear all costs of serving that customer during the 12.2 period of unauthorized service. 12.3 Subd. 4. [VERIFICATION PROCEDURES; EVIDENCE OF 12.4 AUTHORIZATION.] (a) Customer authorization for a change in the 12.5 customer's long-distance service provider may be verified using 12.6 a verification procedure that complies with federal law or 12.7 regulation. Except as provided in paragraph (b), the 12.8 requirement that the carrier be able to produce evidence of 12.9 customer authorization is satisfied if the carrier uses a 12.10 federally authorized verification procedure. 12.11 (b) If federal law or regulation authorizes a carrier to 12.12 use a negative check-off verification procedure, and the carrier 12.13 does so, the carrier must be able to produce a tape recording of 12.14 the initial oral authorization by the customer to change 12.15 long-distance service providers as evidence of the 12.16 authorization. The initial oral authorization must include 12.17 confirmation of the items listed in subdivision 2, paragraph (a). 12.18 (c) "Negative check-off" means a verification procedure 12.19 that consists of: 12.20 (1) an initial oral authorization by the customer to change 12.21 long-distance service providers; and 12.22 (2) a mailing to the customer by the soliciting 12.23 telecommunications carrier regarding the change in service 12.24 providers that informs the customer that if the customer fails 12.25 to cancel the change in service providers, the change will be 12.26 deemed authorized and verified. 12.27 Sec. 11. [237.662] [NOTICE AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS OF 12.28 LONG-DISTANCE PROVIDERS.] 12.29 Subdivision 1. [INFORMATION REQUIRED.] When contacted by a 12.30 customer regarding the purchase of long-distance 12.31 telecommunications services, or when soliciting customers via 12.32 mail or telephone, a provider of long-distance services shall 12.33 provide the customer with the following information, if the 12.34 service is being offered to the customer, about the service 12.35 offering either orally or in writing: 12.36 (1) the price or range of prices of interstate message toll 13.1 service accessed by dialing "1+" or "10-xxx", including any 13.2 difference in prices for evening, night, or weekend calls; 13.3 (2) the price or range of prices of intrastate interLATA 13.4 message toll service accessed by dialing "1+" or "10-xxx", 13.5 including any difference in prices for evening, night, or 13.6 weekend calls; 13.7 (3) the price or range of prices of intrastate intraLATA 13.8 message toll service accessed by dialing "1+" or "10-xxx", 13.9 including any difference in prices for evening, night, or 13.10 weekend; 13.11 (4) any minimum volume requirements, fixed flat fees, 13.12 service charges, surcharges, termination charges or other 13.13 non-service-specific charges, including the fact that the 13.14 provider of local service may charge a one-time fee for changing 13.15 carriers; and 13.16 (5) any special promotional rate or promotional offering 13.17 related to the services or prices described in clauses (1) to (4) 13.18 above, including any limitations or restrictions on the 13.19 promotional rates or offerings. 13.20 Subd. 2. [PRICE, TERMS, AND RESTRICTIONS IN WRITING.] If a 13.21 customer agrees to purchase telecommunications services from the 13.22 provider of long-distance services on a presubscription basis, 13.23 the provider shall send the customer written information 13.24 regarding services subscribed to, containing: 13.25 (1) the information regarding prices and charges described 13.26 in subdivision 1, clauses (1) to (5); 13.27 (2) the price for calls placed with a calling card issued 13.28 to the customer by the provider and any surcharge for placing 13.29 calls with a calling card; 13.30 (3) the price for calls charged to the customer when a 13.31 personal "1-800" number for long-distance services issued to the 13.32 customer by the provider is used; and 13.33 (4) the price of directory assistance calls. 13.34 This written information must be sent to the customer 13.35 within seven business days from the date of the verification of 13.36 the customer's authorization, unless federal law or regulation 14.1 requires notice to be sent by an earlier date. 14.2 Subd. 3. [FILED TARIFFS NO DEFENSE.] That a 14.3 telecommunications carrier has intrastate tariffs or price lists 14.4 for the services listed in subdivisions 1 and 2 on file with the 14.5 public utilities commission or department of public service is 14.6 not a defense to any action brought for failure to disclose 14.7 intrastate prices for which disclosure is required under this 14.8 section. 14.9 Sec. 12. [237.663] [LOADING.] 14.10 (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c), a telephone 14.11 company or telecommunications carrier providing local service 14.12 shall not charge a telephone service subscriber, as defined in 14.13 section 325F.692, for a telephone or telecommunications service 14.14 that is not required by the commission to be offered and for 14.15 which the subscriber did not explicitly contract. 14.16 (b) If a charge is assessed on a per-use basis for a 14.17 service described in paragraph (a), the charge must be applied 14.18 as a credit to the subscriber's next monthly bill, if the 14.19 subscriber notifies the telephone company or telecommunications 14.20 carrier that the subscriber did not utilize the service or did 14.21 not authorize the utilization of the service. 14.22 (c) A telephone company or telecommunications carrier that 14.23 receives a notification from a telephone service subscriber 14.24 under paragraph (b) shall inform the subscriber of the ability 14.25 to block the services from future use by the subscriber, and 14.26 shall block the services from future use by the subscriber, if 14.27 the subscriber so requests. If a subscriber requests that the 14.28 carrier or company not block the service or later requests to 14.29 have the block lifted, the subscriber shall be responsible for 14.30 charges caused by the future utilization of that service. The 14.31 carrier or company may not charge a recurring fee for blocking 14.32 the service. 14.33 Sec. 13. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.74, 14.34 subdivision 6, is amended to read: 14.35 Subd. 6. [TARIFF OR PRICE LIST CHANGES.] (a) 14.36 Telecommunications carriers may: 15.1 (1) decrease the rate for a service, or make any change in 15.2 a tariff or price list that results in a decrease in rates, 15.3 effective without notice to its customers or the commission; and 15.4 (2) offer a new service, increase the rate for a service, 15.5 or change the terms, conditions, rules, and regulations of its 15.6 service offering effective upon notice to its customers. 15.7 Subject to subdivisions 2 and 9, a telecommunications carrier 15.8 may discontinue a service, except that a telecommunications 15.9 carrier must first obtain prior commission approval before 15.10 discontinuing service to another telecommunications carrier if 15.11 end users would be deprived of service because of the 15.12 discontinuance. 15.13 (b) A telecommunications carrier may give notice to its 15.14 customers by bill inserts, by publication in newspapers of 15.15 general circulation, or by any other reasonable means. However, 15.16 notice of increases for intrastate residential rates for the 15.17 services referenced in section 237.662, subdivision 1, shall be 15.18 made by bill inserts prominently displaying the notice of price 15.19 increase on the customer's bill, or by a direct mailing or phone 15.20 call to the customer. Customer notices for increases of 15.21 intrastate rates for those services must include as a heading 15.22 "NOTICE OF PRICE INCREASE". 15.23 Sec. 14. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 237.74, is 15.24 amended by adding a subdivision to read: 15.25 Subd. 13. [INTERNATIONAL CALL BLOCKING.] A 15.26 telecommunications carrier, on its own or in conjunction with 15.27 the telephone subscriber's provider of local telephone service, 15.28 shall offer comprehensive international toll blocking of 15.29 nondomestic area codes that are part of the North American 15.30 numbering plans, as a condition of offering service in Minnesota. 15.31 Sec. 15. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 325F.692, 15.32 subdivision 1, is amended to read: 15.33 Subdivision 1. [DEFINITIONS.] (a) For the purposes of this 15.34 section, the following terms have the meanings given them. 15.35 (b) "Information service" means a billed service 15.36 transmitted exclusively orally via the telecommunications 16.1 network that may include provision of information or advice, 16.2 participation in trivia or other games, participation in adult 16.3 conversation or other group bridging services, or provision of 16.4 similar billed services. An information service may be accessed 16.5 by an information service customer by various methods including, 16.6 but not limited to, dialing a 1-900 or 1-800 telephone number, 16.7 or by the customer receiving a collect call from an information 16.8 service provider following the customer's 1-800 call. 16.9 (c) "Information service customer" means a person who 16.10 receives information transmitted from or participates in 16.11 conversation enabled by an information service provider. 16.12 (d) "Information service provider" means a person who 16.13 provides information services and directly, or indirectly 16.14 through a billing agent, either charges information service 16.15 customers for use of the information service or includes the 16.16 costs associated with providing information services in the 16.17 charge for a long-distance call. 16.18 (e) "Telephone service subscriber" means a person who 16.19 contracts with a telephone company for telephone services. 16.20 Sec. 16. [REPEALER.] 16.21 (a) Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 237.66, 16.22 subdivision 1b, is repealed. 16.23 (b) Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 325F.692, subdivision 16.24 8, is repealed. 16.25 Sec. 17. [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 16.26 Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 16, paragraph (b), are effective 16.27 the day following final enactment. Sections 6 to 13, 15, and 16.28 16, paragraph (a), are effective July 1, 1998. Section 14 is 16.29 effective January 1, 1999.