An interim agreement approved by the Utah Public Service Commission this week will lower monthly local and long distance billings for US WEST Communications customers, effective Jan. 1.

Residential customers in the Salt Lake area will see an average 52 cent monthly decrease on their next bills, while business customers will get an average $1.34 reduction on local calls. Certain long distance services will drop by 3.9 percent.Lesser reductions are expected in other areas (see accompanying box).

The reductions are the result of an agreement between US WEST, the Utah Division of Public Utilities and the Utah Committee of Consumer Services. The stipulation agreement will be part of the ongoing rate hearings for US WEST that began last fall and are expected to be completed in early March.

The agreement was submitted to the commission in December as part of the hearings on the company's authorized earnings.

The new rates went into effect Jan. 1, and will be effective until a final order is issued following completion of the hearings.

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(Additional information)

Base phone rates effective Jan. 1

Residential Business

Exchange area new base savings new base savings

Logan $ 9.76 $ .40 $26.01 $1.07

Ogden 10.46 .43 27.57 1.14

Salt Lake 12.44 .52 31.84 1.34

Provo 11.96 .49 29.17 1.21

Richfield 9.45 .39 25.42 1.05

Cedar City 7.98 .33 22.02 .91

St. George 8.49 .35 23.12 .96

Tooele 9.95 .41 26.44 1.09

Vernal 7.98 .33 22.02 .91

Price 8.79 .36 23.83 .98