Public Service Commission Staff Note Delays From Frontier In Audit Process

Nov 22, 2019

As independent auditors continue their six-month review into Frontier Communications’ landline phone operations in West Virginia, staff working for the state Public Service Commission have noted some significant delays on the part of the telecommunications company. 

Since August, auditing firm Schumaker and Company has submitted 121 requests for information to Frontier, according to the PSC.

Frontier reportedly has failed to make the 30-day deadline for 30 of those requests so far.

On Thursday, PSC staff filed a motion compelling Frontier to “fully and completely respond” to Schumaker’s data requests

“Schumaker cannot complete its work [in a] timely [manner] if Frontier delays in responding to basic requests regarding its operations and services,” staff wrote. 

In a written statement from Frontier’s office for corporate communications and external affairs, the company’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs said the company has complied with auditors’ requests, will continue to do so and that the company expects the audit to be finished on time. 

“I think they’re getting their act together, but we’ve also asked for a lot of stuff,” Dennis Schumaker, with Schumaker and Company, said.

Most of the information requests involve Frontier’s policies and procedures, he said, adding staffers with Schumaker also have visited a few of Frontier’s central offices in West Virginia, where access lines to the copper network are supposed to connect consumers to service. 

Landlines are a state-regulated utility, by decision of the West Virginia Legislature. 

The PSC chose Schumaker and Company to complete a focused management audit on Frontiers’ copper network for landline operation on July 25, after Frontier missed two deadlines to select an auditing group itself. 

The PSC determined a focused management audit by a third-party organization was necessary after initiating a general investigation a year earlier in August 2018, after receiving hundreds of complaints from Frontier customers throughout the state. To this day, the commission continues to hear from concerned consumers, business-owners and even 911 directors

Their input is listed publicly online with motions and other requests for information on the PSC website, under case number 18-0291-T-P.

The commission anticipates a preliminary report from Schumaker in December and a final report in February. 

Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.