California Small Telephone Companies
General Rate Case Plan


Small telephone companies in California that participate in the California High Cost Fund-A program are required to file General Rate Case applications with the CPUC.
The High Cost Fund-A is a subsidy program based on the principle of universal service -- the concept that basic telephone service should be affordable and ubiquitously available, including in rural, high-cost areas

In December 2014, the CPUC issued a Scoping Ruling requesting stakeholder input on its Proposed Rate Case Plan that would guide the rate case process for the small telephone companies, including: 

  • Schedule of Rate Case cycles
  • Guidelines for Data Requests and Notice of Intent to file a Rate Case

On June 25, 2015, the CPUC issued a Decision adopting a final Rate Case Plan and Schedule, as well as determining: 

  • Rate Case Benchmarks and Timelines.
  • Any telephone company that does not file a Rate Case application during the first year of their scheduled cycle must obtain a CPUC exemption. 
  • Subsequent Rate Cases will continue on the same cycle formation schedule in future years.


Public Advocates Office (the Office) Position

The Office supports the Governor’s directive to process the rate cases of small telephone companies on a timely basis. The CPUC’s adopted Rate Case Plan is largely consistent with the Office’s Rate Case Plan proposal, which proposed to:  

  • Establish a schedule for the 14 small telephone companies to file their Rate Case across the next  three years.
  • Allow the Office to develop a list of Minimum Data Requirements that the phone company must provide before filing their formal Applications.
  • Utilize a consolidated Cost of Capital proceeding first to determine the companies’ rates of return, in order to enhance the efficiency of the Rate Case process.  

While the CPUC's Rate Case Plan Decision declined to give the Office the authority to reject the pre-Application for the purpose of curing deficiencies, it did give this responsibility to its Communications staff and allow the Office to provide staff with input on any deficiencies.

See the Office’s June 15, 2015 Opening Comments on CPUC's Proposed Decision.

See the Office’s June 22, 2015 Reply Comments on CPUC's Proposed Decision.

See the Office's January 9, 2015 Opening Comments

See the Office’s January 14, 2015 Reply Comments.


Proceeding Docket 

See the Proceeding docket.

Other Resources

The Office's California High Cost Fund-A Portal Webpage