PacBell Allowed to Close Payment Offices

Despite protests from customers and consumer groups, state regulators approved Pacific Bell's plan to close 13 of its 25 public bill-payment offices. The California Public Utilities Commission also laid out a checklist that would allow the phone company to close the remaining 12 offices by the end of the year. Three Los Angeles offices will be closed immediately, along with offices in Fullerton, Glendale, Torrance, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, Modesto, Sacramento and San Jose. San Francisco-based PacBell, the state's largest phone company, said it will save money by closing the offices, which serve about 600,000 customers per month. In their place, PacBell has set up "authorized payment locations" in pharmacies and check-cashing and mailing services stores. Regulators said those locations will be prohibited from charging a fee for the service. PacBell has established 375 of the alternative payment offices throughout the state.

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