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El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Working with Public Utility Commission to increase 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge

In the state of Colorado the 9-1-1 network or Emergency Telephone Charge is governed by 57 different local jurisdictions or governing bodies. Most of these governing bodies correspond closely with one of Colorado’s 64 counties.  The El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Board is the governing body for the Emergency Telephone Charge in El Paso and Teller Counties.  The El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Board is comprised of nine members. Each year the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Board is required by Colorado State Statute to set the Emergency Telephone Charge for the coming year. Each year the Board develops a budget based on the predicted revenue and anticipated costs, and approves the budget at the public hearing each November.

During the May 25th Authority Board meeting the Authority Board members voted unanimously to move forward with the process of increasing the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge not to exceed $1.90 per month.

In order to fund 9-1-1 service, every Coloradan that has telephone service pays a 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge. These charges are applied to monthly bills by telephone companies who provide landline, wireless, prepaid wireless or VoIP telephone service. Some telephone service providers identify this fee as a separate line item on the customer’s monthly bill, and others lump this charge in to the broader package offered to the customer. The charge is applied to each line that has telephone service.

The current 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge is $.70 cents per telephone line, per month, an amount that has remained unchanged since 2004. Increasing the Emergency Telephone Charge to $1.90 could generate $11 million annually. The Board determined that the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge would need to be increased in order to continue its support, training and certification programs of emergency dispatchers in public safety agencies within El Paso and Teller Counties. The Board also recognized the need for extensive upgrades in technology in order to meet expanding requirements for next generation 9-1-1, including text messaging and an ever increasing volume of calls as a result of the proliferation of cellular telephones.

The Public Utilities Commission will have 30 days to review the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Emergency Telephone Charge application.  The Public Utility Commission will conduct a hearing to discuss the merits of the application and the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Board Members will testify as to the need. The public will be invited to attend and comment on the application.  A date for the meeting has not been determined.

If approved the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge could go into effect as early as January 1, 2017.