A. Any change in any rate, toll, charge, fee, rule, or regulation (hereafter collectively referred to as tariffs) of a small investor-owned telephone utility shall become effective thirty days after notice has been mailed to each customer unless:
B. Whenever the lesser of 5 percent or 150 customers subject to a small investor-owned telephone utility’s tariffs file a protest or objection to any change in any schedule of that utility’s tariffs, the Commission may suspend the enforcement of any or all of the proposed tariffs for a period not exceeding 150 days from the date of the filing of those tariffs with the Commission and shall convene a hearing to determine whether the proposed tariffs are reasonable and just. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission may fix and order substituted tariffs as shall be just and reasonable.
C. Notice of the suspension of any proposed tariff and the scheduling of a hearing shall be given by the Commission to the small investor-owned telephone utility prior to the expiration of the thirty days’ notice to the Commission and to the public as prescribed in subsection A of this section. If the proceeding has not been concluded and an order made at the expiration of the suspension period, after notice to the Commission by the utility making the filing, the proposed tariffs shall go into effect. Where increased rates, tolls, or charges are thus made effective, the Commission shall by order:
1. Require the small investor-owned telephone utility to furnish a bond, which at the Commission’s discretion may bear interest at a rate specified by the Commission, in order to refund any amounts ordered by the Commission;
3. Upon completion of the hearing and decision, order the small investor-owned telephone utility to refund the portion of such increased rates, tolls, or charges found by the Commission’s decision to be unjustified.
D. The Commission may, acting on its own motion, suspend the utility’s proposed tariffs. The Commission shall give notice of its intention to suspend the proposed tariffs to the small investor-owned telephone utility within thirty days’ notice after the filing of these proposed tariffs.
1986, c. 337.