Court Sends Qwest Case Back to PRC

In a case involving Qwest Corporation and New Mexico Attorney General Gary King’s office, the New Mexico Supreme Court today ruled that a Public Regulation Commission Final Order regulating Qwest must be vacated, and a new hearing conducted. 

At issue is whether Qwest was underselling it’s competitors by offering various telecommunications services below their true cost.  The high court upheld the rule of law at the Public Regulation Commission by insisting that all parties affected by its decisions be given a full and fair opportunity to be heard.  As the Court stated, “parties were denied the opportunity to substantively address” the impact of previous PRC decisions and the Final Order in this case was “not based solely on the evidence presented and made part of the record.”

AG King, who intervened in the case on behalf of the state’s consumers, welcomed the decision.  “Today, the state’s highest court has affirmed the due process rights of New Mexicans to fully participate in the regulation of vital utilities and networks.  A full and fair process is essential to democracy, especially in the extremely complex field of utilities regulation.  I applaud this decision and will continue my advocacy for consumers in this vital sector of our economy.”

“Such predatory pricing is harmful to consumers because it so badly distorts the market,” adds AG King. “Undercutting competitors to drive them out of the market results in higher prices and decreased service quality in the long run.  My goal as Attorney General is to prevent such practices and to fight for the ability of all New Mexicans to access broadband telecommunications throughout the state.”

The PRC has not announced the date for the hearing yet but Attorney General King urges the commission to set a date at the earliest possible moment.