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News | 05/09/2000 4:00 am EDT

CRTC orders MTS to cover costs of dissenting groups
The CRTC has upheld a decision that forces MTS Communications Inc to pay two not-for-profit groups any costs they incurred while battling the prairie telco two years ago. The Consumers Association of Canada (Manitoba) (CAC) and the Manitoba Society of Seniors (MSOS) were granted $68,652.79 by the commission following Telecom Decision 99-4 . That decision denied the prairie telco the right to pre-collect future income tax expense from its basic residential local subscribers. On May 1, the commission once again sided against the telco in rejecting its appeal to have the costing decision overturned – Taxation Order 2000-3.
MTS was to have reimbursed the CAC and MSOS for expenses they incurred while preparing for the hearing. The telco appealed on four grounds: the fees for consultants and expert witnesses should not reflect any activity before the proceeding began; the time claimed by the consultants is excessive; a bill for $3794 for counsel Byron Williams to prepare for a hearing should be disallowed as the session was a public consultation not a hearing; and a claim for computer research should be denied as it was beyond the scope of the proceeding's mandate.
The CRTC sided with both the CAC and MSOS, saying it found nothing untoward about the number of hours claimed by the consultants and found no evidence of duplication. The research on retroactive and retrospective rate-making was also deemed necessary. The advocacy groups were awarded $67,118 in fees and $1,534.79 in disbursements.

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