Permits a telephone corporation to publish rate schedules for certain services on its website instead of with the public service commission.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to the publication of certain rates and terms
PURPOSE: To eliminate the requirement that telephone corporations like Frontier and Verizon, as well as those competitors of Verizon that are certified local exchange carriers, file tariffs for their competitive retail services with the New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) where they elect, instead, to make that information available on their public websites.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill would eliminate the requirement that telephone corporations like Frontier and Verizon, as well as those competitors of Verizon that are certified local exchange carriers, file tariffs for their competitive retail services with the New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) where they to elect, instead, to make that information available on their public websites.
Section 2: Sets forth the effective date
JUSTIFICATION: Today, a small number of the telecommunications providers in the New York market are required to file and maintain tariffs with the Commission that describe their retail service offerings, the prices charged, and the teens and conditions for such offerings. In some instances, those filed rates, terms or conditions are not even allowed to take effect for a minimum of 30 days or more. These tariff requirements are a vestige of the monopoly era of telecommunications when the Commission was charged with overseeing and regulating monopoly providers. Today the marketplace is highly-competitive, and most of the providers in the market, including large cable providers that offer telephone services, are not required to file or maintain tariffs, or to secure Commission approvals for the services they offer their customers in competition with other regulated telephone corporations. These other providers instead have agreements between themselves and their customers.
The retail tariff filing and approval obligations are an unnecessary burden on the telephone corporations that remain subject to them, and they increase the cost of doing business for those corporations while failing to provide any benefit to customers. To comply with these obligations, incumbent telephone providers must maintain a tariff database containing general terms and conditions, and specific service descriptions and terms and conditions for all the regulated telecommunications services it provides, including even separate filings for individual case basis services provided to business customers. Whenever it introduces a new service or makes any change to the terms and conditions of its service offerings, regulatory specialists review the service or change with product managers, draft tariff language, create specially formatted tariff pages, file these pages with the Commission, and distribute them as required. Traditional providers are also required to maintain an electronic database housing the tariffs and ensure that it is accessible to the Commission. This process is parallel to, but must be coordinated with, the separate processes undertaken for distinct employees to ensure adequate and timely customer communications.
Today, good customer service in a competitive market requires the providers to communicate the rates, terms, and conditions of the services customers purchase by means of scripts, welcome packages, bills, and other information. In fact, customers can obtain information about their services at any time at a company's public website.
This information is far more accessible to customers than tariffs and comparable to the materials provided by competitors, thus better facilitating competitive comparison. Drafting, filing, and maintaining tariff databases is an additional layer of communication, not typically relied on by customers. In short, direct communication with customers which providers already undertake today is more informative to customers than are tariffs. Not only are tariffs an administrative burden for the providers, but they also slow down the flow of information in a competitive market. For example, traditional providers must file tariffs days in advance of making changes to their services, thus giving competitors advanced notice of business plans.
By eliminating retail tariffs for telephone companies and certified providers that elect to post the rates terms and conditions of those services on their websites, New York would be joining with the federal government and numerous other states which have taken such action. The federal government eliminated tariffs for interstate long distance services over fifteen years ago with no harm to consumers. Nationally, 40 states have already implemented some form of de-tariffing for telecommunications services.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: No fiscal impact to the state, but the state would likely achieve administrative savings as a result of less work involved with processing these types of filings.
HISTORY: This is a new bill
EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill shall take effect on the 90th day after it shall become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2512--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 18, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommuni- cations -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to the publication of certain rates and terms THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 92-g to read as follows: 92-G. DE-TARIFFING OF RETAIL SERVICES. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS CHAPTER, OR ANY REGULATION OR ORDER ISSUED BY THE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER, ON AND AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, A TELEPHONE CORPORATION FURNISHING ANY SERVICES THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE SUBJECT TO THE RATE SCHEDULE REQUIREMENTS IN SECTION NINE- TY-TWO OF THIS ARTICLE MAY POST ON ITS WEBSITE THE RATES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ANY RETAIL SERVICE IT OFFERS, RENDERS OR FURNISHES WITHIN THE STATE. SECTION NINETY-TWO OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY SERVICE SO POSTED, AND SUCH TELEPHONE CORPORATION SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO FILE WITH THE COMMISSION OR OBTAIN APPROVAL OF ANY TARIFF OR SCHEDULE FOR SUCH SERVICE. 2. ANY TARIFF OR SCHEDULE FOR RETAIL SERVICES FILED BY A TELEPHONE CORPORATION PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION MAY BE WITHDRAWN AT ANY TIME AFTER SUCH DATE UPON THIRTY DAYS NOTICE TO THE COMMISSION, BUT SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL SUCH WITHDRAWAL. 3. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL AFFECT THE AUTHORITY OF THE COMMIS- SION OVER SWITCHED ACCESS OR WHOLESALE SERVICES. S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07082-02-3