People criticize phone company during first round of meetings |

People criticize phone company during first round of meetings

About 25 people complained about US West phone service Wednesday night in the first of five Front Range hearings held by the Public Utilities Commission.

The commission is trying to determine if US West violated any of its service quality rules. The phone company could face large fines if the commission rules against it.

Many of the people who testified described problems getting their phone service fixed or getting phones hooked up, said commission spokeswoman Barbara Fernandez.

Ross Eckel of Conifer said he has been waiting over a year-and-a-half for a phone line.

He said his sister has to rely on a cellular phone but to use it she has to drive to spot that has cellular service.

One night she was hit by a drunken driver while making a call, he said.

Dr. Glenn Davis of Conifer said not being able to get a second phone line has hurt his 24-hour house-call business.

After asking for the line last November, he said US West now says they will install the line Sept. 18.

US West officials said the complaints are unfortunate but said most repairs are done in a timely manner.

Jeff Garrett, manager of state operations, said the company received 252,000 orders last month in the state and completed 98 percent of them.

In July, the Public Utilities Commission received 203 complaints from US West customers who had to wait more than 30 days for phone service.

There were 380 other people who had repair problems, according to the commission.