On October 29, 2015, APGA filed comments in response to a September 16 petition by Broadnet Teleservices, LLC for a declaratory ruling that governmental entities are exempt from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). On September 29, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice and Request for Comments on the Broadnet petition. The TCPA is the law that regulates and limits calls made by autodialing systems. There is a concern that the TCPA, if applied to public gas and power, could make it difficult for systems to notify customers by automated messages about service outages, service restoration times, the presence of repair crews in their neighborhoods, etc. Broadnet’s petition argues that the Communications Act (into which the TCPA was incorporated), defines "persons" the same way as the Natural Gas Act and Federal Power Act and because, the courts and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have said that municipal utilities are not persons under either statute, they should not be considered persons subject to the TCPA either.
In its comments, APGA communicates that many public gas systems rely on automated calls to alert the public in a timely fashion on issues such as outages and gas leaks. In addition, many others are considering the use of automated calling to make their systems safer. The comments also state that “since the word ‘person’ as used in the TCPA was not intended to include federal, state, and local governmental entities and their officers acting on official business, calls made by or on behalf of government entities, such as the members of APGA, are not subject to the TCPA and the rules thereunder.”
A copy of APGA’s comments is available for download below. For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at email@example.com. #robocalls #Broadnet #TCPA #FCC #APGACommentsandMotions
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