Prohibits gas corporations from charging an additional fee or charge for the installation of capital improvements and fixtures to promote energy efficiency upon the request and consent of the customer.
Ayes (59): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Aubertine, Bonacic, Breslin, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espada, Farley, Flanagan, Foley, Fuschillo, Golden, Griffo, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson C, Johnson O, Klein, Krueger, Kruger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Leibell, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, Onorato, Oppenheimer, Padavan, Parker, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Schneiderman, Serrano, Seward, Smith, Squadron, Stachowski, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Thompson, Valesky, Volker, Winner, Young
Excused (2): Morahan, Skelos
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the public service law, in relation to gas corporations
PURPOSE OF THE BILL:
The purpose of this bill is to encourage energy conservation and demand reduction through "on-bill financing" - the installation of energy efficiency improvements financed by the gas utility company and paid for by the customer over time through a charge on the customer's gas utility bill.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of this bill amends Public Service Law (PSL) §65(6) to permit service charges on natural gas bills for the installation of capital improvements and fixtures to promote energy efficiency upon the request and consent of the customer.
Section 2 of this bill provides for an immediate effective date.
PSL §65(6) prohibits gas corporations from imposing additional charges or fees for service or for the installation of apparatus, or for the use of apparatus, with certain exceptions. These exceptions include: (1) where entry, inspection or examination of meters, pipes, works, etc. is denied; (2) for reconnection of service after lawful disconnection for non-payment of bills for service; (3) for reasonable expenses incurred in cases of meter tampering or theft of service; and (4) for remote meter reading devices requested by and installed with the consent of the customer. The prohibition on imposing additional charges or fees for gas service or apparatus is intended to ensure that a fair and reasonable price is charged for gas supplied.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new proposal.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:
In June 2008, the Public Service Commission issued a decision establishing New York's Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) (Case 07-M-0548 - Proceeding on Motion of the Commission Regarding an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard) with the goal of reducing forecast electricity usage by 15% statewide by 2015, with comparable results in natural gas conservation. Among proposals to achieve such goals is the installation of energy efficiency improvements (i.e., light bulbs, appliances, HVAC equipment, insulation, weatherization measures). Recog nizing that the initial cost of these measures can be high, it is proposed that local electric and gas distribution companies finance the cost of these improvements and equipment, with the customer repaying the loan via a charge to his or her utility bill based on estimated savings.
As noted in Multiple Intervenors v. Public Service Com., 166 A.D.2d 140 (3d Dep't 1991), the courts have permitted such rate charges not directly related to the provision of the utility commodity, including recovery of lost profits and incentive payments for encouraging energy conservation.
Without this amendment, gas customers participating in an on-bill financing program would have to be charged in rates designed on a volumetric basis linked to the amount of gas commodity consumed. Because customer consumption varies every month, such a rate design would be burdensome to establish and more difficult for customers to understand than a monthly service charge. Electric customers can be charged a monthly service charge. Establishing this narrow exemption would allow gas customers to be treated the same as electric customers for the purposes of on-bill financing of the installation of energy efficiency improvements. The purpose of the prohibition on imposing additional charges or fees for gas service or apparatus, to ensure that a fair and reasonable price is charged for gas supplied, would be maintained as the gas service charge authorized could only be charged upon the request and consent of the customer and because participation would result in gas bills for the customer that are lower than they otherwise would be.
This bill would be effective upon enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3712 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 30, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- (at request of the Department of Public Service) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to gas corporations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 6 of section 65 of the public service law, as amended by chapter 713 of the laws of 1981 and paragraph (b-1) as added by chapter 534 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: 6. Service charges prohibited. Every gas corporation shall charge for gas supplied a fair and reasonable price. No such corporation shall make or impose an additional charge or fee for service or for the installa- tion of apparatus or the use of apparatus installed, except that a charge may be made: (a) where entry, inspection or examination as authorized by subdivi- sion nine of this section is denied; (b) for reconnecting the service to a person or corporation if the service to such person or corporation was disconnected, in accordance with applicable legal requirements, for non-payment of bills for service;
[or](b-1) for expenses reasonably incurred as determined by the commission in cases of meter tampering and theft of service. Such expenses shall include, but not be limited to, the cost of investigating, repairing and replacing meters and pipes, and the cost of moving a meter and install- ing it in a secure location [.]; (c) for a remote meter reading device upon the request and consent of the customer [.]; OR (D) FOR INSTALLATION OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND FIXTURES TO PROMOTE ENERGY EFFICIENCY UPON THE REQUEST AND CONSENT OF THE CUSTOMER. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06169-01-9