Public Service Commission requiring Suddenlink to address complaints

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Jul. 3—CHARLESTON — Dubbing a telephone and internet provider's response to "disastrous customer service problems" as "completely inadequate," the Public Service Commission of West Virginia has called for a plan to address its problems.

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has ordered Suddenlink Communications to show why it should not be required to take specific remedial steps to improve service to customers and why the commission should not impose penalties as authorized by state law.

On May 6, Charlotte Lane, chair of the state PSC, met with representatives of Suddenlink to discuss the more than 1,900 quality of service complaints the commission has received, including delays in service restoration, billing errors, the inability to place orders for service or contact personnel regarding the status of service.

Lane directed Suddenlink to provide the commission with a correction plan within 30 days. Suddenlink sent a letter to Lane on June 7 that contained neither a correction plan nor details of the steps that Suddenlink has 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," Lane stated.

To characterize over 1,900 complaints in a positive fashion as "'less than 1 percent' of its customer base, is particularly concerning," Lane added.

The commission ordered Suddenlink on Thursday to file information within 30 days, including 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, according to a statement issued Thursday by the state PSC.

The commission has scheduled two public comment hearings on Aug. 24 at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. There will be an evidentiary hearing on Aug. 26 starting at 9:30 a.m. All three hearings will be conducted at the PSC headquarters in Charleston, and all hearings will be held in person and streamed live on the commission's website.

Suddenlink offers cable television service to more than 300,000 households and small businesses and has over 133,000 cable television customers in West Virginia. The company provides service over a hybrid fiber optic-coaxial network with more than 8,500 plant miles and eight headends across the state.

Additional information, including Thursday's order and Suddenlink's June 7 response to the state PSC, is available on the commission's website: by referencing Case No. 21-0515-CTV-SC-GI.