Bill S1398-2011

Relates to converting residential rental buildings from being mass-metered to submetered

Relates to application requirements for private or government entities that wish to provide electric service converting residential rental buildings from being mass-metered to submetered.

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

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1398

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to converting residential rental buildings from being mass-metered to submetered

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To provide for a transparent procedure by which a private or government entity applying for submeter a residential rental building shall make certain facts of the building known that pertain to its energy efficiency, require minimum improvements to the building for energy efficiency, and provide for tenant input as the application is considered by the Public Service Commission.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The public service law is amended to:

-Provide that a master-metered residential rental building may be converted to submetering if a private or government entity providing electric services files an application with the Public Service Commission and meets the conditions of this act;

-Requires the applicant to include in the application a procedure for written notification to tenants of the proposal to submeter within 30 days of the application, the notification shall include: a summary of the information provided to the commission, inform the tenants that a public comment period has commenced, and indicate the length of that comment period; the address and telephone number of the nearest Commission office; the date, time, and location of a public hearing set by the Commission to hear testimony from the public; where on the Commission website the entire application can be viewed and how a free copy can be requested by mail as well as providing a toll free number for making such requests; a statement stating any economic advantages of submetering at the premisis; a description of the submetering service that will be installed; the method of calculating utility rates for tenants, including information about the utility's tariffed residential rate for directly metered service; describe compliant procedures and tenant protections consistent with the Home Energy Fair Practice Act; demonstrate that arrangements have been made with the local social services department to continue to provide electric service upon acceptance of utility assistance grants.

-Requires the Commission hold a public hearing near the residential building at least 30 days prior to the conditional and final approval or denial of the submetering application;

-Requires the applicant to provide to include in their application to the Commission: findings of a study commissioned by the applicant of the thermal characteristics of the building; records of the last twenty-four months of electrical usage and charges; the projected submetered rates that the current usage rate for the various dwelling types that exist in the building; a plan to replace all non-energy star rated appliances provided by the applicant to energy-star rated appliances;

-The applicant shall pay all the costs of an independent energy consultant chosen by the tenants if a group of at least 50% of the tenants request such analysis and at least 3 bids are received by the applicant;

-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.

To safeguard the rights of tenants, it is important to ensure that the submetering application process is transparent and affords affected residents the opportunity to comment on the application as well as ensuring that the thermal characteristics of the building are known, deficiencies in energy efficiency are reasonably mitigated, and that there are checks in place to safeguard against tenants being unduly burdened from unjust and unreasonable submetered charges.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: Referred to Energy & Telecommunications 2009: Referred to Energy & Telecommunications

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1398 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 amend the public service law, in relation to converting resi- dential rental buildings from being mass-metered to submetered THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 53 of the public service law is renumbered section 54 and a new section 53 is added to read as follows: S 53. RESIDENTIAL RENTAL BUILDING SUBMETERING. 1. A MASTER-METERED RESIDENTIAL RENTAL BUILDING MAY BE CONVERTED TO BE SUBMETERED IF THE OWNER OF THE BUILDING FILES AN APPLICATION TO CONVERT THE BUILDING TO SUBMETERING WITH THE COMMISSION, PROVIDED THAT: (A) THE APPLICANT APPLYING TO PROVIDE SUBMETERED ELECTRIC SERVICE INCLUDES WITH THE APPLICATION A PROCEDURE FOR NOTIFYING IN WRITING, WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF FILING THE APPLICATION WITH THE COMMISSION, ALL TENANTS OF RECORD OF THE PROPOSAL TO SUBMETER. THE NOTIFICATION SHALL: (I) INCLUDE A SUMMARY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO THE COMMISSION; (II) INFORM TENANTS THAT A PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD HAS COMMENCED; (III) STATE THE DATE AFTER WHICH COMMENTS DIRECTED TO THE COMMISSION WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED; (IV) PROMINENTLY DISPLAY THE ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE NEAR- EST PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OFFICE; (V) STATE THE DATE, TIME, AND LOCATION OF THE PUBLIC HEARING SET BY THE COMMISSION TO HEAR TESTIMONY FROM THE PUBLIC; (VI) DIRECT THE TENANT WHERE ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION'S WEBSITE THE ENTIRE APPLICATION CAN BE VIEWED, AS WELL AS TO PROVIDE A TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER AND ADDRESS FROM WHICH A TENANT OF RECORD MAY REQUEST A COPY OF THE COMPLETE APPLICATION TO BE MAILED TO SUCH TENANT AT NO COST TO THE TENANT;
(VII) INCLUDE A STATEMENT SUBSTANTIATING ANY ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES OF SUBMETERING OVER DIRECT UTILITY METERING AT THE PREMISES PROPOSED TO BE SUBMETERED; (VIII) INCLUDE A DESCRIPTION OF THE TYPE OF SUBMETERING SYSTEM TO BE INSTALLED AND A VALIDATION OF ITS RELIABILITY AND ACCURACY; (IX) STATE THE METHOD AND BASIS FOR CALCULATING RATES TO TENANTS, WHICH SHALL INCLUDE A MAXIMUM RATE PROVISION PREVENTING CHARGES TO TENANTS FROM EXCEEDING THE TARIFFED RATES AND CHARGES FOR SERVICE FROM THE LOCAL DISTRIBUTION UTILITY; (X) STATE COMPLAINT PROCEDURES AND TENANT PROTECTIONS CONSISTENT WITH THE HOME ENERGY FAIR PRACTICES ACT; AND (XI) DEMONSTRATE THAT SATISFACTORY ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE WITH THE LOCAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES TO PROVIDE CONTINUED ELECTRIC SERVICE UPON ACCEPTANCE OF VENDOR PAYMENT OF UTILITY ASSISTANCE GRANTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STATE PLAN FOR REGULAR AND EMERGENCY HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE UNDER SECTION NINETY-SEVEN OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, THE EMERGENCY UTILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM UNDER SECTION ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE-S OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW OR REGULATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF TEMPORARY AND DISABILITY ASSISTANCE RELATING TO UTILITY ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS. (B) THE COMMISSION HOLDS A PUBLIC HEARING AT A LOCATION NEAR THE RESI- DENTIAL RENTAL BUILDING AT LEAST THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO THE CONDITIONAL AND FINAL APPROVAL OR DENIAL OF THE SUBMETERING APPLICATION. (C) THE APPLICANT INCLUDES WITH THE APPLICATION: (I) FINDINGS OF A STUDY COMMISSIONED BY THE APPLICANT OF THE THERMAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BUILDING; (II) RECORDS OF THE LAST TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS OF ELECTRICAL USAGE AND CHARGES; (III) THE PROJECTED SUBMETERED RATES AT THE CURRENT USAGE RATE FOR THE VARIOUS DWELLING UNIT TYPES THAT EXIST IN THE BUILDING; (IV) A PLAN TO REPLACE ALL NON-ENERGY STAR RATED APPLIANCES PROVIDED BY THE APPLICANT TO THE TENANTS WITH ENERGY STAR RATED APPLIANCES. (D) THE APPLICANT PAYS ALL COSTS OF AN INDEPENDENT ENERGY ANALYSIS OF THE BUILDING BY ONE OF THE CONSULTANTS CHOSEN BY THE TENANTS IF A GROUP OF AT LEAST FIFTY PERCENT OF THE TENANTS OF RECORD REQUEST SUCH ANALYSIS AND THE GROUP OF TENANTS PROVIDES TO THE APPLICANT AT LEAST THREE BIDS FROM CONSULTANTS WHO CAN PERFORM SUCH ANALYSIS. 2. (A) ALL APPLICATIONS FILED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A TWO-TIERED APPROVAL PROCESS BY THE COMMIS- SION. INITIAL APPROVAL OF AN APPLICATION, IF GRANTED BY THE COMMISSION, SHALL BE GRANTED FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR, AT WHICH TIME, THE APPROVAL SHALL AUTOMATICALLY EXPIRE; PROVIDED THAT, WITHIN THREE MONTHS PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE GRANT OF CONDITIONAL APPROVAL, THE APPLICANT MAY FILE FOR REVIEW OF THE APPLICATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING FINAL APPROVAL OF THE APPLICATION. ANY APPLICANT FILING FOR REVIEW FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF AN APPLICATION SHALL SUBMIT TO THE COMMIS- SION A LISTING OF THE ACTUAL METERED USAGE RATES AND CHARGES TO THE TENANTS DURING THE PERIOD OF THE CONDITIONAL APPROVAL OF THE APPLICA- TION. (B) ANY APPLICANT WHOSE APPLICATION FOR CONDITIONAL APPROVAL IS DENIED BY THE COMMISSION MAY RE-FILE AN APPLICATION NO EARLIER THAN SIX MONTHS FOLLOWING THE DENIAL OF THE APPLICATION BY THE COMMISSION. (C) THE COMMISSION SHALL PROVIDE WRITTEN NOTICE TO AN APPLICANT OF ITS DECISION REGARDING APPLICATIONS WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE PUBLIC HEARING REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION. ALL DENIALS OF APPLICATIONS
SHALL STATE THE REASONS FOR THE DENIAL, SHALL SPECIFY THE MEASURES THE APPLICANT MUST TAKE TO QUALIFY FOR APPROVAL OF THE APPLICATION AND SHALL ADVISE THE APPLICANT OF HIS OR HER RIGHT TO INVESTIGATION AND REVIEW OF THE DENIAL OF THE APPLICATION IF THE APPLICANT CONSIDERS SUCH DENIAL TO BE WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION. S 2. The public service commission shall promulgate any rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this act on its effec- tive date. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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