Judge Rules Against Us West Rate Hike

Rates for US West telephone services in Washington will remain largely unchanged pending a court battle over whether the company should be allowed to raise prices or be forced to cut them, a King County judge ruled Monday.

However, a state-ordered rate change that sets a flat $10.50-per-month fee for basic residential service will go into effect.

Superior Court Judge Robert Lasnik denied a request by the utility to increase its basic residential telephone rates by $1.98 a month while it appeals a state order to cut its revenues instead by $91.5 million. But he also issued a six-month stay against that order, issued earlier this month by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission.

US West originally sought from the UTC a $204 million annual increase, including a near doubling of basic home-phone rates.

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