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Public Service Commission to host public hearing Monday in Beckley on Suddenlink case

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission goes on the road Monday evening to hear from residents who want to speak out about the service they receive from Suddenlink.

Charlotte Lane

The first of four public hearings scheduled in the coming weeks is set for Monday evening in the Ceremonial Courtroom at the Raleigh County Courthouse beginning at 5 p.m.

PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane said it’s important for the PSC to provide the forum.

“And hopefully after we listen to the customers and hoped\fully we will get a response from Suddenlink, we can come up with a plan of action,” Lane told MetroNews.

Suddenlink provides cable, internet and phone service in West Virginia. The PSC announced an investigation in July after receiving hundreds of complaints about the company’s service.

“We have talked to them (Suddenlink) and we have given them the opportunity to take remedial action and we are just not satisfied with what we have seen,” Lane said.

In a statement forwarded to MetroNews, Suddenlink, which is owned by Altice USA, said it looked forward to participating in the hearings.

“Our teams continue to work diligently to continuously enhance the service experience for our customers in West Virginia, and we will continue to communicate with the Public Service Commission about our ongoing investments in the State that benefit our customers in addition to participating in the public hearings,” the statement said.

The commission is giving Suddenlink until Aug. 31 to submit the information that is to provide details on completed and projected improvement projects to its cable television service; specific outage information; the processes used to issue and track trouble tickets; customer complaint call logs; a copy of all Suddenlink’s current franchises for cable television service in the state; metrics regarding training, personnel, office locations and hours of operation.

Suddenlink also acknowledged some service problems in its statement to MetroNews.

“We understand that some of our customers may have experienced some frustration particularly during the pandemic as the company adapted operations to ensure the safety of customers and employees,” the company said. “We continue to make major investments in our network, products and services, including the recent launch of our Smart WiFi 6 product and the roll out of our advanced Altice One entertainment platform.”

Along with the Beckley public hearing, two public hearings are set for Tuesday at the PSC offices in Charleston, one at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 6 p.m. and a fourth public hearing will be held Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. at the Princeton Parks and Recreation Meeting Room.

The evidentiary hearing in the case is now set for Oct. 6 in Charleston.

Lane said the hearings could be eye-opening for Suddenlink.

“Nothing gets their attention like a lot of customers demanding attention and demanding service,” Lane said.

Lane originally met with Suddenlink officials in May and asked for a response to complaints from customers by June 7. Suddenlink responded by the deadline but its response contained neither a correction plan nor details of the steps that it had taken to improve cable television service.

“Suddenlink’s response to our request for a corrective plan to its disastrous customer service problems was completely inadequate, To characterize over 1,900 complaints in a positive fashion as ‘less than 1%’ of its customer base, is particularly concerning,” Lane said at the time.

Lane has not ruled out what she called “further legislation” to get Suddenlink to provide the service that customers are paying for.

The PSC previously granted intervener status in the case to the cities of Charleston, Elkins and Beckley along with the Kanawha County Commission.

Those who can’t attend the public hearings can submit comments to the PSC by letter at 201 Brooks Street, Charleston, WV 25301 or they can submit a comment on the PSC website.

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