Provides for the electronic service of orders of the public service commission.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to electronic service of orders
Purpose of the Bill:
The bill would conform Public Service Law (PSL) § 23 with State Technology Law (STL) Article III (Electronic Signatures and Records Act (ESRA)), thereby reducing costs, increasing efficiency and expediting public notification by streamlining recordkeeping for electronic issuance of Orders by the Public Service Commission (PSC or Commission).
Summary of Provisions:
Section 1 of the bill would amend PSL § 23(1) to allow Orders issued by the PSC to be provided by electronic means pursuant to PSC regulations except that non-electronic service would be provided upon request.
Section 2 of the bill would make the bill effective immediately.
PSL § 23(1) requires that every Order of the Commission be served upon all persons or corporations affected by such Order either by (i) personal delivery or (ii) mail, in a sealed envelope with prepaid postage, addressed to persons designated to receive a summons under the CPLR; electronic service is not authorized.
Prior Legislative History:
2012: A.9856/S.6764 passed the Senate.
Statement in Support:
PSL § 23(1) was enacted in 1910 (Ch. 480), and reflected the need in a pre-electronic world to provide utility management and other parties with hard copies of Commission Order. This bill would allow the Commission to serve its Orders by electronic mail, reserving to parties the option to receive hard copies if that is their preference. Selecting an option establishes no additional burden on a party when lie or she contacts the Commission to indicate a desire to become a party to a Commission proceeding. Parties can indicate their preference for service of documents related to the proceeding, including Commission Orders.
Electronic communication is as reliable as regular mail, and the limited options set forth in PSL § 23(1) for service of Commission Orders are inefficient, outdated and expensive. Information can be transmitted far more quickly and efficiently by electronic means than by regular mail. Addressees receive the information nearly instantaneously rather than days later, and electronic service can be configured to provide for electronic "return receipts" to confirm delivery. ESRA was accordingly adopted because "it is in the best interest of the State of New York, its citizens, businesses and
government entities for state and federal law to work in tandem to promote the use of electronic technology in the everyday lives and transactions of such individuals and entities." Laws of 2002, Ch. 314 § 1.
The Commission sends out approximately 650 Orders annually, which must be sent to multiple parties per case; large proceedings may have over 100 parties. Implementation of electronic service would reduce the cost of paper, envelopes, printing and mailing. ESRA provides agencies broad authority to seek the savings of electronic transmittal and electronic recordkeeping. However, ESRA implementing regulations, 9 NYCRR §540.5(e), provide that "(g)overmental entities using electronic records shall, in the absence of specific statutory or regulatory requirements, have the authority to specify the manner and format in which electronic records will be received, produced, accepted, acquired, recorded, filed, transmitted, forwarded, acknowledged and stored." (Emphasis added). Because PSL § 23(1) mandates personal service or "by mailing a copy thereof, in a sealed package with postage prepaid," it precludes electronic service of Commission Orders, without a waiver.
A nominal amount of nonpersonal services savings is projected. There are also large, but unquantifiable, efficiencies due to resources saved in attempting to design., maintain and refine a process for waiver of PSL § 23(1).
Immediately Upon enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4300 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 20, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- (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 electronic service of orders THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 23 of the public service law, as amended by chapter 310 of the laws of 1974, is amended to read as follows: 1. Every order of the commission shall be served upon every person or corporation to be affected thereby BY ELECTRONIC SERVICE IN A MANNER AND FORMAT PROVIDED FOR IN REGULATIONS ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMISSION OR ALTERNATIVELY, IF NON-ELECTRONIC SERVICE IS REQUESTED BY SUCH PERSON OR CORPORATION, either by personal delivery of a copy thereof
[;], or by THE mailing OF a copy thereof, in a sealed package with postage prepaid, to the person to be affected thereby or, in the case of a corporation, to any officer or agent thereof upon whom a summons may be served in accordance with the provisions of the civil practice law and rules. The commission shall provide, upon request, a certified copy thereof or a copy thereof bearing the seal of the commission. Within a time speci- fied in the order of the commission every person and corporation upon whom it is served must if so required in the order notify the commis- sion, in writing, whether the terms of the order are accepted and will be obeyed and in the case of a corporation such notification shall be signed and acknowledged by a person or officer duly authorized by the corporation to execute such acceptance and agreement. Every order of the commission shall take effect at a time therein specified and shall continue in force either for a period which may be designated therein or until changed or abrogated by the commission, unless such order be unau- thorized by this chapter or any other act or be in violation of a provision of the constitution of the state or of the United States. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08968-01-3