Political Notes – 15 telcos sued by Cobb and Gwinnett over 911 services

[private]Cobb and Gwinnett counties are suing 15 telephone companies to recover more than $50 million that they claim is owed the counties in unpaid fees for 911 phone service.

The metro counties have retained some high-priced legal counsel for the litigation: former governor Roy Barnes.

“These suits are necessary because the telephone service providers have a statutory and fiduciary responsibility under Georgia law to properly bill, collect, and remit 911 fees,” Barnes said. “We believe, based on the evidence we have received, that responsibility has not been met. These monies need to be paid for the benefit of the counties’ 911 systems.”

Lawsuits were filed in federal and state courts against these telephone service providers:

BellSouth Telecommunications (AT&T Georgia),Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Bandwidth.com CLEC, Broadriver Communication Corp., Broadvox, CBeyond Communications, Charter Fiberlink – Georgia, Earthlink (and subsidiaries Business Telecom and DeltaCom), Inteliquent, Level 3 Communications, Network Telephone, Peerless Network of Georgia, Windstream Communications (and subsidiaries NuVox Communications and Southern Digital), XO Communications Services, and YMax Communications Corp.

The Barnes Law Group and Harris Penn Lowry are handling the lawsuits for the two counties, and they say no taxpayer dollars will be spent on the litigation. If the lawsuits fail, neither county will owe legal fees; if they succeed, a cut of the proceeds will go for attorneys’ fees.

Teaming up on solar

Georgia Power and the University of Georgia launched a one megawatt solar tracking demonstration project in Athens this week on a 10-acre site owned by the university.

Researchers from the utility and UGA will collaborate for two years on a study of solar forecasting and the effects of solar panel soiling on performance.

Georgia Power owns and will operate the facility under a 20-year lease agreement, and energy produced by the solar facility will flow to the state’s electric grid.

“Now more than ever, it’s essential that we continue to invest in the research and development of new technologies to make solar, and all generation sources, as reliable, efficient and cost-effective for our customers as possible,” Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers said.

New officers at Board of Education

The state Board of Education has elected new officers for the next two years: Mike Royal will move up from vice chairman to become chairman, succeeding Helen Rice, and Lisa Kinnemore will replace Royal as the board’s vice chair.

Royal, who lives in Lawrenceville, is the founder and president of Partners Risk Services, an insurance and risk management firm. Kinnemore, a Stone Mountain resident, was a member of the N.E. Independent Preparatory Academy board for five years.

Law officers honored

Gov. Nathan Deal presented the Governor’s Public Safety Award to DNR officers Capt. Chris Hodge, Cpl. Craig Smith, and Ranger First Class David Brady for acts of heroism in two separate incidents last year.

The Governor’s Public Safety Awards Program recognizes people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect the lives and property of Georgia citizens and those who have made significant contributions to their profession.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

[/private]

Tags: 911 phone service , Cobb County , DNR Rangers , Georgia Power , Gwinnett County , Nathan Deal , state Board of Education , university of georgia