Bill S1397-2011

Requires the public service commission to audit utility submetering orders, compare usage before submetering to usage after submetering orders, prepare report

Requires the public service commission to audit previously approved utility submetering orders, to compare usage before submetering to usage after submetering orders were implemented, and to prepare a report concerning its findings.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • Jan 7, 2011: REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1397

TITLE OF BILL: An act to require the public service commission to audit previously approved utility submetering orders, compare usage before submetering to usage after submetering orders were implemented, and prepare a report concerning its findings

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To require the Public Service Commission to perform an audit regarding submetering orders it has issued in the last five years to determine compliance by building owners of utility price caps and tenant protection provisions, and to determine if submetering has resulted in energy savings in those buildings. The Commission will have twelve months to complete the audit and make a report to the legislature and until that time no new submetering orders may be approved.

: Amends the public service laws:

-Requires the Public Service Commission to audit all utility submetering orders from January 1, 2004 through the effective date of the act and determine whether utility price caps and tenant protection provisions have been complied with as well as comparing the rate and cost of utility usage prior to the submetering order and after the submetering order; -The audit must be completed within twelve months; -Requires the Public Service Commission to make a report to the governor and the legislature of its findings, conclusions, and recommendations no later than ninety days after completing the audit; -Prohibits new submetering orders from being approved until the report is received by the governor and the legislature; -Act taking effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: In 1951, the Public Service Commission prohibited all residential electric submetering, calling the practice "parasitic." That decision was held up in courts (Campo Corp. v. Feinberg, 279 App. Div. 302 (3d Dept. 1952) affirmed 303 N.Y. 995 (1952). As a consequence, utilities were directed by the PSC to adopt electric tariffs broadly prohibiting the resale of utility service. The previously permitted landlord submetering was converted to direct utility metering. Subsequently, the practice of submetering was again allowed by the PSC on a case by case basis, mainly for residential cooperative and condominium projects, where tenants have an ownership and governance interest. Public service commission regulations and numerous orders have allowed landlords waivers from the general prohibition against resale of utility service contained in commission regulations and utility tariffs. As a result, landlords are being allowed to be monopoly providers of electric service to their captive tenants. Also, in many instances the state division of housing and community renewal has allowed landlords who previously rented with utility service included in the rent to

change the terms of leases so as to shift responsibility for payment of electric charges from landlords to tenants. Recently, submetering has been recast as an environmental cause, encouraging consumers to conserve energy by making them directly responsible for the costs associated with their dwelling unit's energy usage. But as utility costs rise some building owners have begun to see this as a way to pass high costs on to their tenants, and as building owners are not obligated to reveal energy inefficiencies in their buildings as part of their applications (nor are they required to make efficiency improvements), these costs can be very high. This bill will allow the legislature to review the current practices of submetering and ensure that the goals of energy conservation are more than theoretical, that tenants are being protected as per the submetering orders, and that all applicable utility price caps are adhered to. If not, the findings and recommendations of the commission's audit should be helpful in making a public policy determination of what should happen next on this subject.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: Referred to Energy & Telecommunications (S.5009)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1397 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 7, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PERKINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommuni- cations AN ACT to require the public service commission to audit previously approved utility submetering orders, compare usage before submetering to usage after submetering orders were implemented, and prepare a report concerning its findings THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public service commission shall audit all utility submetering orders approved by the public service commission during the period of January 1, 2004 through the effective date of this act, and shall specifically determine whether all applicable utility price caps and tenant protection provisions have been complied with and compare the rate and cost of utility usage before submetering to usage after imple- mentation of submetering orders. This audit shall be completed within twelve months following the effective date of these provisions. S 2. Upon completion of the audit, the public service commission shall make a report to the governor and the legislature of its findings, conclusions and recommendations, and shall submit with such report such legislative proposals as it deems necessary to implement its recommenda- tions. This report shall be submitted no later than ninety days after completion of the audit. No new submetering orders shall be approved until the public service commission report is submitted to the governor and the legislature. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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