Colo. consumer office worried about Qwest service

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Consumer advocates want Colorado regulators to raise service standards and potential fines for Qwest as it considers its proposed merger with CenturyTel.

Colorado’s Office of Consumer Counsel says Qwest has been taking longer to answer customer phone calls and finish repairs. Officials there are concerned things could get worse because Qwest and Louisiana-based CenturyLink are expected to cut $575 million in annual operating costs after the merger.

Under Colorado regulations, Qwest must answer 85 percent of repair calls within 60 seconds or pay a monthly fine. The Denver Post reports that Qwest is meeting that benchmark but the percentage is dropping.

The Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing on the merger Monday starting at 4 p.m. in Denver.