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Strike And Storms Exacerbated FairPoint's 2014 Losses, CEO Says

FairPoint Communications says a four-month strike and a succession of winter storms pushed it deeper into the red in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The company reports a net loss of $43.6 million for the quarter.

For the year, FairPoint lost more than $136.3 million.

In a quarterly earnings conference call, FairPoint CEO Paul Sunu suggested the worst is over now that FairPoint has negotiated new union contracts.

Sunu said to improve the revenue picture, the company has to increase the number of wholesale customers and commercial clients. 

But he acknowledged the loss of residential customers and said company has to do a better job for them.  

“We want to use the benefits gained from our labor agreements to make a noticeable change to our customer service and interaction,” said Sunu. “We believe we provide such service to our business customers, but we want to bring that level of care and attention to our residential customers as well.”

The company was plagued by service delays for residential customers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine for much of four-month strike, prompting an outcry by customers and a number of state and elected officials. In Vermont, the Public Service Board launched an inquiry into the delays and an outage that resulted in the loss of enhanced 911 emergency services.

FairPoint stock rose to a 52 week high in the wake of the new agreement and a financial analyst said shareholders are pushing for a sale.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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