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Paynesville Press - Nov.6, 2002

Elrosa votes for toll-free local calling

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Telephone customers in the Elrosa (697) telephone exchange recently voted in favor of toll-free calling to Sauk Centre and to Greenwald and Melrose, according to polling results certified by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC).

A majority of Elrosa customers who cast votes approved paying higher monthly telephone rates for Extended Area Service (EAS). EAS will permit local, instead of long-distance calling, between Elrosa and these communities.

Citizens Communication provides local telephone service in Elrosa. MPUC has ordered Citizens Communications to file an implementation schedule within 60 days. The new service should be available in about one year.

A total of 69.5 percent of the customers eligible to vote returned their ballots to the Public Utilities Commission. Elrosa telephone customers approved EAS to Sauk Centre by 106 votes (86.2 percent) to 17 votes (13.8 percent). They approved EAS to Greenwald and Melrose by 102 votes (82.9 percent) to 21 votes (17.1 percent).

The poll was conducted from August to October this fall. Residential and business customers received one ballot for every phone line.

The following are the rate increases Elrosa customers will pay when EAS is implemented. The increase for residences is $1.75 per month for EAS to Sauk Centre and $2.44 per month for EAS to Greenwald and Melrose. For businesses, the rate increase is $3.49 per month for EAS to Sauk Centre and $4.87 per month for EAS to Greenwald and Melrose.

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