Enacts the "utility preparedness act of 2014"; requires the commission to issue an order establishing and requiring compliance with power restoration performance standards for certain electric companies to reduce the duration of outages and disruptions and to facilitate restoration of power after outages and disruptions.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to utility preparedness for outages and disruptions of service
PURPOSE: To create a utility preparedness program which will impose new standards for preparedness and power restoration to address forthcoming major utility outages, like that experienced during Hurricane Sandy. Under the bill, the public service commission will adopt and enforce, and the utilities will be required to comply with, performance incentives and standards for each transmission and distribution company during power outages in which more than ten percent of a transmission and distribution company's customers are without power for more than forty eight-consecutive hours.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 provides that the act shall be entitled "utility preparedness act of 2013."
Section 2 provides that the public service law is amended by adding a new section, 66-n, entitled "utility preparedness act of 2013."
Section 1(a) of §66-n defines "electric transmission and distribution company" to include investor-owned utilities having annual revenues in excess of $200 million that transmit electricity within New York State. Section 1(b) defines "vegetation management."
Section 2 (a) of §66-n requires that no later than one year following the effective date of this section, the PSC shall create power restoration performance benchmarks and standards for utility companies to reduce the duration of power outages, and to facilitate restoration of power after outages or disruptions.
Section 2 of §66-n provides that these benchmarks and standards are established for power outages in which more than ten percent of a utility's customers are without power for more than forty-eight consecutive hours.
Sections 2 (b) (i) through (xiv) of §66-n establish that standards and benchmarks shall include provisions for minimum staffing and equipment levels for each company; timetables for restoration of power in outages affecting more than ten percent, thirty percent, fifty percent and seventy percent of such company's customers; creation and requirements of a communication plan between each company and its customers, including communication during time periods that are not considered normal business hours; safety of companies' employees, mutual aid crews and private contractors; notification of the commission and the public when a company has requested aid for storm restoration assistance from other utilities, including the number of workers and/or equipment the company has requested; communication and coordination between each company and the relevant state or local emergency operations center concerning emergency preparation, road clearing, and restoration activities; tree trimming, cutting and removal by each utility company to reduce power outages caused by trees and limbs; coordination and communication between the utility and the public; reimbursement for actual losses of spoiled food due to refrigeration caused by power outages lasting forty-eight or more hours when greater than ten percent of residential customers have lost
power up to $200 per itemized list and above $200 upon submission of itemized list and proof of loss, up to a maximum of $450 for any one customer, and actual losses of perishable prescription medicine spoiled as a result of such outages; timely notice of outage by utilities to state and municipal agencies; operation of an emergency call center by each company; and any other standards the commission deems necessary.
Section 2(c) (i) through (vi) of §66-n provide that the PSC, in developing its power restoration performance benchmarks and standards required under the bill, shall review the current practices of electric transmission and distribution companies; the adequacy of each company's infrastructure, facilities and equipment; vegetation management policies of each company; impact of burying power lines underground; impact of expanding area adjacent to distribution lines for tree trimming; and any other policy or practice the PSC deems necessary. Section 2 (d) of §66-n authorizes the PSC to permit companies to recover the reasonable cost incurred by such company to maintain or improve the reliability of such company's infrastructure necessary to meet these standards. Section 2(e) of §66-n authorizes the PSC to establish additional standards when it is deemed necessary. Section 2 (f) provides that not later than one year after the commission issues an order pursuant to subdivision 2(a) and each year thereafter, each company shall provide an emergency response report to the PSC. The report shall include information and analysis concerning the utility's conduct during the preceding year.
Section 3 of §66-n authorizes the PSC to review the performance of each company after any emergency in which more than ten percent of any such company's customers were without power for more than forty-eight consecutive hours
Section 3(b) of §66-n provides that at the commissioner's discretion upon a finding, after a hearing or opportunity to be heard, that any company fails to comply with any standard required by this section or any order of the commission, the PSC is authorized to order civil penalties to be imposed upon such company, not to exceed a total of two and one half percent of such company gross annual revenue and with consideration given to whether such company recovered the costs it incurred. Satisfaction of any such penalty imposed shall be made in the form of a credit to ratepayers within 120 days of such order and shall not be included as an operating expense.
Section 3 provides for the effective date of the bill.
JUSTIFICATION: Recent storms, such as Hurricane Sandy, have revealed substantial gaps in the oversight of electric transmission and distribution companies. This super storm underscored that the system would greatly benefit from economic incentives to encourage faster remediation efforts, improved communication with customers and municipal governments, better planning and preparedness, and improved transparency in the operation of our utilities. This bill, based in part on Connecticut's forward-thinking legislation enacted in the wake of Hurricane Irene and the October Nor'easter, requires the utilities, and the PSC to develop, authorize and operationalize stronger storm preparedness plans. In addition, it will provide strong economic
incentives for companies to move quickly and professionally in all aspects of their remediation and recovery operations.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4502 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 5, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. LATIMER -- 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 utility prepared- ness for outages and disruptions of service THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "utility preparedness act of 2013". S 2. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 66-n to read as follows: S 66-N. UTILITY PREPAREDNESS FOR OUTAGES AND DISRUPTIONS OF SERVICE. 1. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS SECTION: (A) "ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY" OR "TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY" OR "COMPANY" SHALL MEAN: AN INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITY HAVING ANNUAL REVENUES IN EXCESS OF TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS THAT TRANSMITS AND DISTRIBUTES ELECTRICITY WITHIN THIS STATE. (B) "VEGETATION MANAGEMENT" SHALL MEAN: PROGRAMS AND PRACTICES DESIGNED TO PREVENT ELECTRIC SYSTEM DISRUPTIONS OR POWER OUTAGES CAUSED BY THE PHYSICAL INTERFERENCE OR COLLAPSE OF TREES, TREE BRANCHES AND OTHER VEGETATION ON ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION LINES. 2. TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS AND STANDARDS. (A) NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, THE COMMISSION SHALL ESTABLISH, AND EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY IS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH, POWER RESTORATION PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS AND STANDARDS TO REDUCE THE DURATION OF OUTAGES AND DISRUPTIONS AND TO FACILITATE RESTORATION OF POWER AFTER OUTAGES OR DISRUPTIONS. PRIOR TO ESTABLISHING SUCH BENCHMARKS AND STANDARDS, THE COMMISSION MAY REQUIRE COMPANIES TO SUBMIT DOCUMENTS AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION IN THEIR POSSESSION IN ORDER TO ASSIST THE COMMISSION IN ESTABLISHING SUCH BENCHMARKS AND STANDARDS.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09413-03-3 S. 4502 2
(B) THE BENCHMARKS AND STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMISSION SHALL BE DESIGNED FOR POWER OUTAGES IN WHICH MORE THAN TEN PERCENT OF A TRANS- MISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY'S CUSTOMERS ARE WITHOUT POWER FOR MORE THAN FORTY-EIGHT CONSECUTIVE HOURS AND SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, STANDARDS FOR: (I) MINIMUM STAFFING AND EQUIPMENT LEVELS FOR EACH COMPANY, BASED ON THE NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS SERVED BY SUCH COMPANY AND THE NATURE OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYED TO SERVE SUCH COMPANY'S CUSTOMERS IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGING OR WIDE-SPREAD OUTAGE OR DISRUPTION; (II) A TIMETABLE FOR RESTORATION OF POWER IN OUTAGES AFFECTING MORE THAN TEN PERCENT, THIRTY PERCENT, FIFTY PERCENT AND SEVENTY PERCENT OF SUCH COMPANY'S CUSTOMERS; (III) A TIMETABLE FOR RESTORATION OF POWER WHEN OUTAGES ARE DUE TO BLACKOUTS OF THE ENTIRE GRID; (IV) CREATION OF A COMMUNICATION PLAN BETWEEN EACH COMPANY AND ITS CUSTOMERS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, COMMUNICATION DURING TIME PERIODS THAT ARE NOT CONSIDERED NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS; (V) SAFETY OF COMPANIES' EMPLOYEES, WORK CREWS AND PRIVATE CONTRAC- TORS; (VI) CREATION OF MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER UTILITIES IN THE REGION AND, AS NEEDED, IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, FOR MUTUAL STORM RESTORATION ASSISTANCE, WHICH SUCH AGREEMENTS SHALL BE FILED WITH THE COMMISSION; (VII) NOTIFICATION OF THE COMMISSION AND THE PUBLIC WHEN A COMPANY HAS REQUESTED AID FOR STORM RESTORATION ASSISTANCE FROM OTHER UTILITIES INCLUDING THE NUMBER OF WORKERS AND/OR ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT THE COMPANY HAS REQUESTED; (VIII) COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION BETWEEN EACH COMPANY AND THE RELEVANT STATE, MUNICIPAL AND/OR EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER OFFICIALS CONCERNING EMERGENCY PREPARATION, ROAD CLEARING AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RESTORATION PRIORITIES; (IX) TREE TRIMMING, CUTTING AND REMOVAL BY EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY TO REDUCE POWER OUTAGES CAUSED BY TREES AND LIMBS; (X) COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES, BETWEEN EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY AND THE PUBLIC INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, STANDARDS CONCERNING THE USE OF ANY EMERGENCY NOTIFICA- TION SYSTEM TO NOTIFY THE PUBLIC OF POWER RESTORATION STATUS AND ANY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS, INCLUDING NOTIFICATION METHODS SUCH AS MOBILE TELEPHONE TEXT MESSAGES, ELECTRONIC MAIL AND ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC OR NON-ELECTRONIC MEANS THAT THE COMMISSION MAY REQUIRE; (XI) REIMBURSEMENT TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS FOR: (A) ACTUAL LOSSES OF FOOD SPOILED DUE TO LACK OF REFRIGERATION CAUSED DURING A POWER OUTAGE LASTING FORTY-EIGHT OR MORE CONSECUTIVE HOURS WHEN GREATER THAN TEN PERCENT OF A COMPANY'S RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS HAVE LOST POWER, IN AN AMOUNT UP TO TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS UPON SUBMISSION OF AN ITEMIZED LIST AND IN AN AMOUNT OVER TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS UPON SUBMISSION OF AN ITEMIZED LIST AND PROOF OF LOSS, UP TO A MAXIMUM OF FOUR HUNDRED- FIFTY DOLLARS FOR ANY ONE CUSTOMER FOR ANY ONE INCIDENT, WHICH SUCH AMOUNTS MAY BE PERIODICALLY REVIEWED AND CHANGED BY THE COMMISSION; (B) ACTUAL LOSSES OF PERISHABLE PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE, SPOILED DUE TO LACK OF REFRIGERATION, UPON SUBMISSION OF AN ITEMIZED LIST AND PROOF OF LOSS AND, IF REQUESTED BY THE COMPANY, SUBMISSION OF AUTHORIZATION TO ENABLE THE COMPANY TO VERIFY THE CLAIMED LOSS;S. 4502 3
(XII) TIMELY NOTIFICATION OF POWER OUTAGES AND RESTORATION EFFORTS BY EACH COMPANY TO ANY RELEVANT STATE OR MUNICIPAL AGENCY OR OFFICIALS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY OR OFFICIALS; (XIII) THE OPERATION OF AN EMERGENCY CALL CENTER BY EACH COMPANY; AND (XIV) ANY OTHER STANDARDS THE COMMISSION DEEMS NECESSARY. (C) THE COMMISSION, IN DEVELOPING ITS POWER RESTORATION PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS AND STANDARDS PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION, SHALL REVIEW: (I) EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY'S CURRENT PRACTICES CONCERNING POWER RESTORATION AFTER AN EMERGENCY. SUCH REVIEW SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, AN ANALYSIS OF EACH SUCH COMPANY'S: (A) ESTIMATES CONCERNING POTENTIAL DAMAGE AND POWER DISRUPTIONS MADE PRIOR TO A POTENTIAL OUTAGE AFFECTING MORE THAN TEN PERCENT OF A COMPANY'S CUSTOMERS FOR A PERIOD OF MORE THAN FORTY-EIGHT CONSECUTIVE HOURS; (B) DAMAGE AND POWER OUTAGE ASSESSMENTS AFTER ANY EMERGENCY; (C) RESTORATION MANAGEMENT AFTER ANY EMERGENCY, INCLUDING ACCESS TO ALTERNATE RESTORA- TION RESOURCES VIA MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER UTILITIES FOR MUTUAL STORM RESTORATION ASSISTANCE, INCLUDING THOSE ENTERED INTO WITH OTHER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES; (D) EACH COMPANY'S PLAN FOR AT-RISK AND VULNERABLE CUSTOMERS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, CUSTOM- ERS IDENTIFIED IN PARAGRAPHS (A) AND (B) OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION THIRTY-TWO OF THIS CHAPTER; (E) POLICIES CONCERNING COMMUNICATION WITH STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS AND CUSTOMERS, INCLUDING NOTIFICATION OF CUSTOMER RESTORATION ESTIMATES AND THE TIMELINESS, ACCURACY AND USEFUL- NESS OF SUCH ESTIMATES; AND (F) NEED FOR MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER UTILITIES FOR MUTUAL STORM RESTORATION INCLUDING ASSISTANCE FROM CREWS SERVING OTHER UTILITIES OR COMPANIES; (II) THE ADEQUACY OF EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY'S INFRASTRUCTURE, FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION LINES, ELECTRIC TRANSFORMERS AND CIRCUITS, WHICH SHALL INCLUDE AN ANALYSIS OF: (A) WHETHER SUCH COMPANY IS FOLLOWING STANDARD INDUSTRY PRACTICES FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF SUCH INFRASTRUCTURE, FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT; AND (B) WHETHER SUCH COMPANY HAS ACCESS TO ADEQUATE REPLACEMENT EQUIPMENT FOR SUCH INFRASTRUCTURE, FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT DURING THE COURSE OF A POWER OUTAGE AFFECTING MORE THAN TEN PERCENT OF A COMPANY'S CUSTOMERS FOR MORE THAN FORTY-EIGHT CONSECUTIVE HOURS; (III) VEGETATION MANAGEMENT POLICIES OF EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIB- UTION COMPANY INCLUDING: (A) EXPENDITURES FOR TREE TRIMMING AND OTHER PRACTICES TO PREVENT INTERFERENCE OF TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION LINES BY VEGETATION; (B) INCIDENCE OF POWER OUTAGES CAUSED BY VEGETATION INCLUDING FALLING TREES AND TREE BRANCHES CAUSED BY WEATHER OR OTHER EVENTS; AND (C) THE AMOUNT AND DURATION OF POWER OUTAGES DURING PREVIOUS MAJOR STORMS CAUSED BY TREES AND LIMBS OUTSIDE THE CURRENT RIGHT OF WAY MANAGEMENT WITH CONSIDERATION GIVEN TO THE QUANTITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF PRIOR TREE TRIMMING; (IV) THE IMPACT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POTENTIAL REDUCTION OF POWER OUTAGES AND POTENTIAL COST OF BURYING POWER LINES UNDERGROUND WERE SUCH EFFORT TO BE UNDERTAKEN; (V) THE IMPACT OF EXPANDING THE AREA ADJACENT TO DISTRIBUTION LINES FOR TREE TRIMMING, INCLUDING AN ANALYSIS OF THE BENEFITS AND THE COSTS OF SUCH EXPANSION TO RATEPAYERS AND THE LIKELIHOOD THAT SUCH EXPANSION WOULD DECREASE DAMAGE TO INFRASTRUCTURE, FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT USED TO DISTRIBUTE ELECTRICITY AND DECREASE POWER OUTAGE FREQUENCY OR DURA- TION; ANDS. 4502 4
(VI) ANY OTHER POLICY OR PRACTICE THE COMMISSION DEEMS NECESSARY TO ANALYZE IN ORDER TO CONDUCT THE REVIEW REQUIRED PURSUANT TO THIS PARA- GRAPH. (D) THE COMMISSION SHALL PERMIT EACH COMPANY TO RECOVER THE REASONABLE COSTS INCURRED BY SUCH COMPANY TO MAINTAIN OR IMPROVE THE RELIABILITY OF SUCH COMPANY'S INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY TO MEET THE STANDARDS ESTAB- LISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. (E) THE COMMISSION MAY ALSO ESTABLISH STANDARDS FOR ACCEPTABLE PERFORMANCE BY EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY IN AN EMERGEN- CY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION, UPON A DETERMINATION BY THE COMMIS- SION THAT THE CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES OF ANY UTILITY NECESSITATES SUCH ADDITIONAL STANDARDS. (F) NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR FOLLOWING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BENCH- MARKS AND STANDARDS PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION AND EACH YEAR THEREAFTER, EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY SHALL PROVIDE AN EMERGENCY RESPONSE REPORT TO THE COMMISSION. SUCH REPORT SHALL INCLUDE INFORMATION AND AN ANALYSIS CONCERNING SUCH COMPANY'S ABILITY AND PERFORMANCE DURING THE PRECEDING YEAR TO MEET THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMISSION PURSU- ANT TO THIS SECTION. IN ADDITION TO THE ANNUAL RESPONSE REPORT REQUIRED IN THIS PARAGRAPH, THE COMMISSION MAY REQUIRE ANY UTILITY TO SUBMIT A SUPPLEMENTAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE REPORT AFTER ANY STORM, EMERGENCY OR EVENT CAUSING SIGNIFICANT POWER DISRUPTIONS. 3. THE COMMISSION SHALL REVIEW THE PERFORMANCE OF EACH TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY AFTER ANY EMERGENCY: (A) IN WHICH MORE THAN TEN PERCENT OF ANY SUCH COMPANY'S CUSTOMERS WERE WITHOUT POWER FOR MORE THAN FORTY-EIGHT CONSECUTIVE HOURS; OR (B) AT THE COMMISSION'S DISCRETION. THE COMMISSION, UPON A FINDING, AFTER A HEARING OR OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD, THAT ANY SUCH COMPANY FAILED TO COMPLY WITH ANY RESTORATION STAN- DARD REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION OR ANY ORDER OF THE COMMISSION IN PREPARA- TION FOR A POWER OUTAGE, OR IN RESTORATION OF A POWER OUTAGE, SHALL IMPOSE CIVIL PENALTIES AGAINST SUCH COMPANY, NOT TO EXCEED A TOTAL OF TWO AND ONE-HALF PERCENT OF SUCH COMPANY'S GROSS ANNUAL REVENUES FROM ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION. IN DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF ANY PENALTY, THE COMMISSION MAY CONSIDER WHETHER SUCH COMPANY RECOVERED COSTS INCURRED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (D) OF SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION TO MEET INFRASTRUCTURE RELIABILITY EFFORTS TO IMPROVE SUCH COMPANY'S PERFORM- ANCE. ANY SUCH PENALTY IMPOSED SHALL BE PAID TO THE CUSTOMERS OR RATE- PAYERS OF SUCH COMPANY IN THE FORM OF A CREDIT, WHICH SHALL BE CREDITED WITHIN ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DAYS OF SUCH ORDER. ANY SUCH PENALTY SHALL NOT BE INCLUDED AS AN OPERATING EXPENSE OF SUCH COMPANY FOR THE PURPOSES OF RATEMAKING. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.