US WEST has estimated it will cost the company $180,000 to provide service to four potential customers along U.S. 91 south of Levan.
The Public Service Commission's Division of Public Utilities sent survey forms to Rex Chase, the primary spokesman for the potential telephone subscribers in the area south of Levan.In the survey, said Chase, potential subscribers were asked if they would be willing to pay $3,000 each as an up-front charge for telephone service. According to the survey, said Chase, all had responded no.
Ninety-five to 98 percent of the calls made by the residents would be to Levan and Nephi, where schools and churches are located. Household and business shopping locations are also in Nephi and cities farther north.
Only 2 to 5 percent of all calls made by the potential customers would be to Gunnison, while most long-distance calls would be to northern Utah or to out-of-state locations.
The Public Service Commission indicated in the survey results that because customers were interested in calling Levan, Nephi and northern cities, the potential subscribers could be more economically provided with local access from Nephi. That would eliminate Gunnison Telephone Co. as a potential service provider.
The PSC also said if the four potential customers were to pay $12,000 in aid to construction, US WEST's annual revenue requirement would be reduced by approximately $2,600. However, the PSC indicated that US WEST was considering a rural subscriber radio system, Chase said. The PSC has also talked with Cellular Inc. but has not received a response.
A second survey will now be made, according to the PSC.
"They are feeling you out to see how much you would be willing to pay," said Commissioner Richard Brough.
Chase asked commissioners if they were committed enough to the residents south of Levan to help them get telephone service by paying the $12,000.
"How about letting us keep our taxes this fall and let us pay (the fees) ourselves," Chase said with a laugh.
Commissioners said they would not be able to pay the $12,000 out of this year's already tight budget. The Universal Service Fund could help provide service to the area, they added.
Brough said he understood the problem would be resolved by June.