OPA: E 911 Surcharge Fees Not Effectively Monitored

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Guam – The latest audit from the Office of Public Accountability [OPA] concludes that the Public Utilities Commission [PUC] has not been effectively monitoring the revenues and collections of the E 911 surcharges.

As a result, the audit found “$724,404 of unreconciled and under-reported E 911 revenues.”

The audit also warns that “the continued lack of monitoring and coordination with the Department of Administration [DOA] heightens the risk of further revenue loss for the E 911 Fund.”

Read the Executive Summary of the E 911 audit

The E 911 Emergency System is funded by a monthly surcharge of  no more than $1 dollar on residential and commercial telecommunications accounts. By law, the PUC is required to establish and monitor the collection of the surcharge and telcom service providers are required to collect and remit the surcharge, after deducting a portion of the fee for their own administrative costs.

Local service providers are also taken to task in the audit for charging 3% to as much as 31% for their administrative costs. On average Guam’s local telecommunication companies are keeping 12% of the E 911 surcharge fees. That compares to administrative fees of between 1% and 5% stateside.

In its last audit of the E 911 fund back in 2003, similar problems were found. That audit concluded that “neither GFD nor DOA monitored the completeness or accuracy of the service provider remittances.”

Among the other findings of the audit are:

1. E 911 surcharge remittances were not reviewed for accuracy and completeness.

2. Quarterly reports were not reviewed for accuracy or completeness.

3. No independent audits of E 911 remittances were performed.

4. Annual E 911 surcharge reports were not implemented.

5. Annual recommendations were not implemented.

6. Little guidance was provided to service providers.

The auditors recommend that the PUC monitor the surcharge collection and require regular audits of service providers’ reported access lines and that GFD submit its annual E 911 assessment reports.