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US WEST DROPS REQUEST TO RAISE RATES - FOR NOW

US WEST is dropping its request for a rate increase that would have cost residential telephone users an additional $4.45 per month. But hold the confetti - an increase is still on the horizon.

The change also would have lowered some business and long-distance rates, said US WEST spokesman Duane Cooke.Last June, US WEST filed its request for a $27.7 million rate increase with the Utah Public Service Commission. But this month the PSC said the company could not include certain anticipated increases in depreciation expenses as part of the calculations used to set rates.

Therefore, US WEST withdrew its application.

Cooke said the company still thinks there's a need to rebalance rates between home telephone users and companies.

"In future rate proceedings, we plan to ask that residential customers bear the bulk of any rate increases," Cooke said.

Residential customers have rates that are "below the cost of providing service," he said.