Lakewood residents angry over the prospect of being charged for calling city hall and the sheriff's substation got a break last week when the state Public Utilities Commission voted to delay rate adjustments for a year.
Under the new ZUM, or Zone Usage Measurement, boundaries that were to have taken effect this week, about 700 southwest Lakewood residents calling the Civic Center and other nearby locations at peak hours would have been charged 8 to 10 cents a minute for the first three minutes and 3 to 5 cents a minute for each additional minute.
At the May 28 PUC meeting, the commission voted to give General Telephone one year to study the calling patterns and devise a plan to keep local calls free. GTE serves Lakewood and parts of Long Beach and Norwalk.
Under the proposed boundaries that were approved by the PUC earlier this year, southwest Lakewood residents, who are in the Long Beach exchange, would be separated from the Civic Center, which is in the Norwalk exchange, by two other exchanges. Calls across the two exchanges would be subject to a ZUM fee.
Two weeks ago, the City Council asked the commission to rescind the new boundaries after residents led by Theresa Cooper presented the council with 350 signatures protesting the changes.