Power Backup Consumer Disclosures Effective February 1, 2017

As JSI alerted clients in its October 20, 2015 e-Lert, facilities-based carriers of fixed residential voice service that is not line-powered (covered providers) with fewer than 100,000 retail subscriber lines must offer a minimum eight-hour power backup option for customers by August 11, 2016. (For companies with 100,000+ retail residential lines the compliance date was February 16, 2016.) This obligation stems from the 911 reliability concerns and requires the power backup to power all equipment required to make a 911 call.

The compliance dates for consumer disclosures, which were pending Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approvals, were announced in the April 7th Federal Register.

By February 1, 2017, covered providers with fewer than 100,000 non-line powered lines, i.e., fiber to the home, must disclose at the point of sale to new subscribers and to all customers annually the following:

  • Service’s capability to accept backup power and the availability of at least one backup power solution from either the provider or a third party;
  • Service limitations with and without backup power during a power outage;
  • Purchase and replacement options;
  • Expected backup power duration;
  • Proper usage and storage conditions for the backup power source;
  • Subscriber backup power self-testing and monitoring instructions; and
  • Backup power warranty details, if any.

Note: The FCC corrected the disclosure compliance date for providers with fewer than 100,000 lines on June 2, 2016. The corrected deadline is February 1, 2017. (This disclosure compliance date is August 5, 2016, for covered providers with 100,000+ lines.)

In February 2019 when a 24-hour backup option is required, companies also will have to provide the same information on customer disclosures for the 24-hour power backup option.

Companies should be working now to determine what power backup options they will offer and if they are going to charge the customer. In addition, companies should be able to answer questions concerning the issues required in the consumer disclosures in August 2016 even though they are not required to provide a formal notification until February 1, 2017.

If you have any questions about the rules or would like JSI’s assistance developing your customer notifications, please contact Valerie Wimer at 301-459-7590.

Source: JSI e-Lert