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Us West Proposes Changes In Service, Long-Distance Rates

US West asked the Montana Public Service Commission on Friday to approve adjustments in the telephone company’s rates for residential and business customers.

Company officials said the new rates will not change US West earnings or profits, but will make charges more competitive and more similar to actual costs of providing service.

“Competition and changes in federal policy are driving us to price all services closer to actual costs,” said Rick Hays, Montana vice president for US West. “For decades, local residence service has been priced below costs, while long distance and other services have been priced significantly higher to make up the difference.”

The proposal would simplify various long-distance rates, resulting in an average reduction of 18 percent, the company said. Monthly residential rates for basic service would increase an average of 24.6 percent, while the monthly rates for business would increase an average of about 8 percent.

The proposal would mean some customers will see an increase in their phone bills and others will get a decrease, Hays said.

Russ Cravens, community affairs director for US West here, said he expects the commission will conduct hearings on the company request this coming summer.