Comments from 29 groups regarding CASF changes go into the official record

The dust has settled from the first round of comments regarding the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) consideration of new rules for California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) eligibility. Not everyone who filed made it through the screening process.

Last week, a total of 17 filings involving 35 organizations were submitted. Five [updated] were rejected by the CPUC’s legal department because of various mistakes. The CPUC has strict rules regarding who, when and how comments on proceeding are to be made.

It appears there were a variety of errors, including improper format, not registering as an official party to the proceeding and missing the deadline. All of the rejected comments were generally in favor of allowing any organization to seek CASF grants and loans, which would be a change from the current policy of only allowing registered and regulated telephone companies to apply.

It’s not remarkable that all the comments in opposition were accepted. Those were submitted by organizations – telephone companies, a cable lobbying group and the CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates – that have long experience with CPUC procedures and seasoned lawyers to help them out.

Only the 12 accepted filings will become part of the official record of the proceeding, to be addressed as the process moves along. It’s possible that the rest could end up in an unofficial correspondence file. That’s still to be determined.

Either way, there won’t be much of substance missing. Two of the rejected filings along with three of the accepted ones followed a template prepared by the California Emerging Technology Fund to one degree or another, so those sentiments are in the record. The remaining three were relevant but didn’t break new ground.

And they all have another chance at it: reply comments are due next Tuesday, and any new points can be made then.

So the tally now stands at 4 filings representing 16 organizations more or less opposed and 8 filings from 14 organization generally in favor. All the filings – accepted or not – can be found here.

Update: one of the rejected filings turned out to be correctable, and was accepted later by the CPUC. The numbers above have been adjusted to reflect the new totals.