Marsha Paskett is the Candace Bergen of the northern Utah County set.

Just ask the Lehi resident about how she hopes to cut the cost of her monthly phone bill.A dime a minute for long-distance calls is great. But she'd rather be able to call friends and family who live about 10 miles away at a local rate.

Calls Paskett makes from her house in Lehi to Draper, Midway, Salt Lake City and other nearby areas extending past the Point of the Mountain are classified as long distance by the phone company.

For example, she said, it's as expensive to call Bluffdale as it is to Salt Lake City.

But those charges could decrease drastically if Utah's Public Service Commission approves a petition by residents to grant Extended Area Service for Lehi residents.

A March 20 memo from the Utah Division of Public Utilities recommended to the commission that US WEST and the Committee of Consumer Services conduct a survey of residents to gauge interest in connecting an EAS line.

The commission is now reviewing the proposal and looking into laws that may prohibit a price increase for such an extended service. Plans are on hold until the legal questions are answered, Paskett said.

If given the go-ahead, though, then some 1,000 randomly selected residents would receive a questionnaire in the mail from the phone company. Results would be tallied after 60 days.

If the response tilts heavily toward implementing the line and the commission approves the change US WEST could be told by the utility commission to provide the service.

A cost study conducted for the past nine months showed EAS would cost Lehi consumers $8.93 per month for a one-party residence line to call into a Salt Lake exchange, including the Bountiful area.

A single business line would cost $13.40 per month and a two-way trunk line would cost $44.67 each month.

"An interesting fact is that upon implementation of the Lehi EAS to the Salt Lake Metro Exchange calling areas is that the Lehi local calling community will encompass 67 percent of all US WEST telephone subscribers in Utah," Paskett said. "The Lehi calling area would become the largest local calling community, covering the largest geographical area of any exchange in the state."

The push for a local toll started nearly two years ago. Residents were told at a town meeting last April that the Salt Lake County Commission must sign off on a request to hook Lehi to the Salt Lake area phone lines. The commission did so three months later.