Consumers not getting the 911 service they pay for, says Murphy

NDP FES critic George Murphy

The NDP critic for Fire and Emergency Services says consumers in the province are paying a monthly 911 fee for every phone account they have. And, George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) adds, they are not getting the service they think they are paying for.

“The other day in the House the minister, when asked about 911 service in the province the minister said and I quote ‘you will recognize very quickly that governments are constrained by the budgetary policies of government.’ End quote,” Murphy said in the House of Assembly during Question Period today.

“911 service is not a budgetary policy of the government as consumers are the ones paying for 911. What say do consumers have in what type of system delivery they receive?”

Government levied a fee of 75 cents per month per phone line effective January 1 this year; the fee was described in a news release last fall as a “cost-recovery” one so “residents throughout the province will have access to 911 by landline and mobile phones, where a cellular signal is available, at a cost of 75 cents per phone line, per month.”

Murphy says there is not equal access to basic 911, with some residents of the northeast Avalon continuing to have their 911 calls answered by trained and qualified 911 dispatchers and most other residents being handled by call-takers who do not, for example, stay on the line with the caller until emergency help arrives.

“Consumers are paying 75 cents a line to get equal 911 service across the province,” says Murphy. “They should be getting equal access to 911 service across the province and not the two-tiered system we have now.”

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