Articles Posted in Utilities Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action suit on behalf of approximately 1.5 million Puerto Rican residents who are customers of Autoridad de Energia Electrica de Puerto Rico (PREPA), alleging that PREPA used a portion of its overall revenue to subsidize municipalities’ energy use. Plaintiffs claimed violations of the Takings Clause and their procedural due process rights because PREPA deprived them of their property interest in electricity and/or the funds they paid for electricity. The district court granted summary judgment for PREPA,concluding that Plaintiffs had not identified a valid property interest, that no taking had occurred, and that no valid procedural due process claim existed. The First Circuit affirmed on other grounds, holding that because Plaintiffs did not identify a valid property interest, they did not have standing to bring the takings and due process claims. View "Santiago-Ramos v. Autoridad de Energia Electrica de P.R." on Justia Law

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PRTC and T-Mobile entered into an interconnection agreement under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in 1999 and into a second agreement in 2001. The agreements provided that certain intrastate access services provided by PRTC, an incumbent local exchange carrier, would be billed at a rate contained in PRTC's federal tariff filed with the FCC. T-Mobile was billed at this rate until 2002, when PRTC announced its view that this billing rate was in error, the disputed services were not covered under the agreement, and the applicable billing rate was a higher rate found in PRTC's local tariff. Roughly $2 million is at issue. The Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Puerto Rico ruled in favor of T-Mobile as a matter of contract law, holding that the FCC tariff rate applied. The district court granted summary judgment for PRTC and vacated the order as discriminating against third-party carriers, in violation of federal law. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the agreement was neither discriminatory nor violative of any other provision of federal law. View "PR Tel. Co., Inc. v. T-Mobile PR, LLC" on Justia Law

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After several failed attempts to establish a voluntary interconnection agreement, the two telecommunications companies went into arbitration with defendant, the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Puerto Rico. Following a remand, the Board approved a final interconnection agreement pursuant to its authority under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 251. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the Board. The First Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that various provisions were arbitrary.

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PRTC, telecommunications local exchange carrier under the jurisdiction of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Puerto Rico and the FCC, entered into an interconnection agreement with Sprint. In a dispute concerning compensation, the Board held that under the agreement''s change-of-law provision PRTC and Sprint were to reciprocally compensate each other for internet-service-provider bound traffic in accordance with an interim compensation order set forth by the FCC in its ISP Remand Order. The Board dismissed Sprint's claim that PRTC had overcharged for termination of transit traffic. The district court upheld the Board. The First Circuit reversed in part. The ISP Remand Order did not alter existing contractual obligations and, therefore, did not trigger the change-of-law provision. The court affirmed dismissal of the overbilling claim.