Requires the commission to conduct annual hearings regarding certain electric corporations; specifies that such hearings are to occur within the county where such corporations operate and are to alternate between counties where such corporations operate in multiple counties.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to requiring the commission to conduct annual hearings regarding certain transmission and distribution companies
PURPOSE: To require the Public Service Commission to hold public hearings in designated areas throughout New York State outside Albany, ensuring opportunities for public comment.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amends the public service law by adding a new section 10-a. Section 1 of § 10-a provides that the commission shall conduct regular public hearings, at least once a year, in designated counties throughout New York State, based on the service area of the utility companies.
Section 2 of §10a provides that the chairman or chairwoman, along with a majority of the commission members, shall be present at each hearing. Residential and commercial customers will be invited to offer public comment on topics including, but not limited to, quality of service, impact of any commission decisions in the previous year regarding rates or service, administration of energy efficiency programs and services, communication between the company and customers in arrears on utility charges, service restoration performance and communication during outages.
Section 2 sets out the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Recent storms and resulting service disruptions have exposed weaknesses in current law regarding the public accountability of the Public Service Commission. Specifically, the PSC has not been required to hear comments of residential and commercial ratepayers outside of the formal hearing process in Albany. It is critical that members of the PSC, as regulators of the public utilities in New York State, hear firsthand from those dependent upon utilities for energy service. This bill will require members of the PSC to hold regular regional hearings to get input and comment.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To Be Determined (Fiscal Note Required)
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2014
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4504 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 requiring the commission to conduct annual hearings regarding certain transmission and distribution companies 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 10-a to read as follows: S 10-A. HEARINGS. 1. THE COMMISSION, NOT LESS THAN ONCE ANNUALLY, SHALL CONDUCT PUBLIC HEARINGS IN THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS WITHIN THE FOLLOWING TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES' RESPECTIVE SERVICE TERRITORIES: A. CONSOLIDATED EDISON: NEW YORK COUNTY, KINGS COUNTY, QUEENS COUNTY, RICHMOND COUNTY, BRONX COUNTY AND WESTCHESTER COUNTY. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNUALLY IN EACH OF THE COUNTIES. B. ORANGE AND ROCKLAND UTILITIES: ORANGE COUNTY AND ROCKLAND COUNTY. THE COMMISSION HEARING SHALL ALTERNATE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTIES EVERY OTHER YEAR. C. CENTRAL HUDSON GAS AND ELECTRIC: ULSTER COUNTY AND DUTCHESS COUNTY. THE COMMISSION HEARING SHALL ALTERNATE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTIES EVERY OTHER YEAR. D. NIAGARA MOHAWK D/B/A NATIONAL GRID: ALBANY COUNTY, ONONDAGA COUNTY AND ERIE COUNTY. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNU- ALLY IN EACH OF THE COUNTIES. E. NEW YORK STATE ELECTRIC AND GAS: BROOME COUNTY AND PUTNAM COUNTY. THE COMMISSION HEARING SHALL ALTERNATE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTIES EVERY OTHER YEAR. F. ROCHESTER GAS AND ELECTRIC: MONROE COUNTY.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09546-03-3 S. 4504 2
2. THE CHAIRMAN OR CHAIRWOMAN AND A MAJORITY OF THE DULY APPOINTED COMMISSIONERS SHALL BE PRESENT AT THE HEARINGS REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION AND SHALL SOLICIT PUBLIC COMMENT FROM RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS REGARDING A COMPANY'S PERFORMANCE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: A. THE QUALITY OF GAS, ELECTRIC AND STEAM SERVICE; B. THE IMPACT OF ANY COMMISSION DECISIONS IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR REGARD- ING RATES FOR SERVICE OR OTHER DECISIONS AFFECTING SERVICE; C. THE ADMINISTRATION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS AND SERVICES BY THE UTILITY; D. COMMUNICATION PROTOCOLS BETWEEN A COMPANY AND CUSTOMERS IN ARREARS ON UTILITY CHARGES REGARDING THE POTENTIAL FOR TERMINATION OF SERVICE; E. SERVICE RESTORATION PERFORMANCE AND CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION DURING ANY OUTAGES OCCURRING IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR; AND F. ANY ADDITIONAL TOPICS OR INFORMATION THE COMMISSION DEEMS NECES- SARY. S 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.