Control of the firm that runs Arlington's cable television system will be shifting this month in a $75 million transaction that is not expected to affect customer rates directly.

The change in the control of Arlington Cable Partners, which operates as MetroCable, must be approved by the Arlington County board. The board is to hold a public hearing on the issue Dec. 12.

A special citizens panel headed by Richard E. Wiley, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will study the proposed change in ownership and advise the board of potential problems. Wiley said the panel will start work this week.

About 37,000 Arlington households are cable subscribers.

Under the proposed change, two of the current owners and mangers, Gustave M. Hauser and John D. Evans, will buy out the other partners in Arlington Cable Partners. This recapitalization is expected to cost Hauser and Evans about $75 million, said Evans in an interview this week.

Evans, the president of Arlington Cable Partners, said the transaction "will have no effect on the quality of service {or} subscriber rates."

While there will be no immediate rate rise attributable to the change in control of the cable firm, there is no guarantee rates will not rise in the near future.

The firm is upgrading the system from 36 to 54 channels and adding services such as pay-for-view. "The whole issue of pricing and packaging is under review right now," said Evans. "We're not ready to talk about it," he said.

The change in control comes at a time of record consumer dissatisfaction with the cable system. The county Consumer Affairs Office received 115 complaints about the cable system for November. There were 68 complaints for all of 1986.

MetroCable officials attribute the rise in complaints to mechanical problems involved with the upgrading and say they have taken steps to improve service, such as hiring more telephone service representatives.

Some critics have suggested that the added cable company workers were brought on to staff the pay-for-view service, not to address customer complaints. Evans said the added staff will address all customer needs.

The changes in MetroCable's ownership come at a time when the county is restructuring the way it oversees the cable system. Changes are being made to the cable administrator's job, and and changes have been proposed in the duties of the cable advisory committee, a citizens panel appointed by the county board.

Currently, the cable administrator monitors Metrocable's compliance with its franchise agreement and produces county programs to air on the system.

The county is seeking to make the cable administrator's job a full-time producer's post and is shifting the job of monitoring the cable system's operations to the Citizen Assistance and Information Department.

County Manager Anton S. Gardner said he does not think that county oversight of the cable system will decrease. "I have no doubt this is a viable way of doing it and that cable will get the attention it deserves," he said.

The county board at its meeting next week is to consider proposed changes in the duties of its cable advisory committee. The committee currently serves as an adjunct to the county staff in reviewing MetroCable's adherence to its franchise agreemnet.

A draft change in the committee's duties proposes that it no longer have this oversight function but that it concern itself with the production of county television programs. Members of the panel opposed this change, said Joseph D. Lewis, former chairman of the cable advisory committee.

"The county is thinly staffed in the cable area already," said Lewis. "There is a need for people to meet on cable issues and be ready to act," he said in arguing for continuing the committee's oversight function.

County board member Ellen M. Bozman said the draft changes were recently amended to continue the panel's oversight role.

Also, Lewis argues that the proposed change in control of MetroCable would give the county board an opportunity to revise the certificate under which the firm operates in Arlington.

Lewis said the county board could "fine-tune" the agreement in favor of the consumer by mandating, for instance, that refunds be automatic in the event of a prolonged outage. Now, a customer must specifically request a refund.

However, County Manager Gardner said he does not believe that the county has the legal right in this instance to revise the franchise agreement.