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 electric corporations
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
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 SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Amends the public service law by adding a new section 66-n.
Section 1 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 requires the commission to notify the public and elected officials of the hearing.
Section 3 (a) of § 66-n 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 3 (b) requires the commission to publish a report on the electric corporation and its service territory thirty days prior to the hearing.
Section 2 of the bill sets out the effective date.
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.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
To Be Determined (Fiscal Note Required)
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
January 1, 2014
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4504--A 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 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to requiring the commission to conduct annual hearings regarding certain electric corporations 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 66-n to read as follows: S 66-N. HEARINGS. 1. THE COMMISSION, NOT LESS THAN ONCE ANNUALLY, AFTER THE RECEIPT OF THE ANNUAL REPORT PROVIDED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION SIXTY-SIX OF THIS ARTICLE, SHALL PROMPTLY FIX A DATE FOR THE COMMENCEMENT OF PUBLIC HEARINGS THEREON AND SAID PUBLIC HEARING SHALL BE SCHEDULED AND CONDUCTED NOT LESS THAN FORTY-FIVE DAYS NOR MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SAID ANNUAL REPORT. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT PUBLIC HEARINGS IN THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS WITHIN THE FOLLOWING ELECTRIC CORPORATIONS' RESPECTIVE SERVICE TERRITO- RIES: (A) CONSOLIDATED EDISON OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION: CITY OF NEW YORK AND WESTCHESTER COUNTY. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEAR- ING ANNUALLY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNUALLY IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY. THE HEARINGS HELD IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK SHALL ALTERNATE COUNTIES SO THAT AT LEAST ONE HEARING SHALL BE HELD IN EACH COUNTY EVERY FIVE YEARS. (B) ORANGE AND ROCKLAND UTILITIES OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION: ORANGE COUNTY AND ROCKLAND COUNTY. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNUALLY IN ONE OF THE COUNTIES AND SHALL NOT CONDUCT A HEARING IN THE SAME COUNTY AS THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S HEARING HELD UNDER THIS SECTION.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09546-05-3 S. 4504--A 2
(C) CENTRAL HUDSON GAS AND ELECTRIC OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION: ULSTER COUNTY AND DUTCHESS COUNTY OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNUALLY IN ONE OF THE COUNTIES AND SHALL NOT CONDUCT A HEARING IN THE SAME COUNTY AS THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S HEARING HELD UNDER THIS SECTION. (D) NIAGARA MOHAWK D/B/A NATIONAL GRID OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION: ALBANY COUNTY, ONONDAGA COUNTY AND ERIE COUNTY. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNUALLY IN ONE OF THE COUNTIES AND SHALL NOT CONDUCT A HEARING IN THE SAME COUNTY AS THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S HEARING HELD UNDER THIS SECTION. (E) NEW YORK STATE ELECTRIC AND GAS OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION: BROOME COUNTY AND PUTNAM COUNTY. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT AT LEAST ONE HEARING ANNUALLY IN ONE OF THE COUNTIES AND SHALL NOT CONDUCT A HEARING IN THE SAME COUNTY AS THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S HEARING HELD UNDER THIS SECTION. (F) ROCHESTER GAS AND ELECTRIC OR ANY SUCCESSOR CORPORATION: MONROE COUNTY. 2. FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROVIDING NOTICE AND SOLICITING PUBLIC COMMENTS, AT LEAST THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO THE PUBLIC HEARINGS REQUIRED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, THE COMMISSION SHALL PROVIDE NOTICE OR ELECTRONIC NOTICE: (A) TO EACH COUNTY AND CITY SERVED BY SAID ELECTRIC CORPORATION; (B) TO THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, EACH MEMBER OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE WHERE SERVICE IS PROVIDED IN SUCH MEMBER'S LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT; (C) TO THE UTILITY INTERVENTION UNIT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; (D) BY PUBLICATION ONCE IN EACH WEEK FOR FOUR SUCCESSIVE WEEKS IN A NEWSPAPER AND ON THE WEB SITE OF A NEWSPAPER THAT HAS GENERAL CIRCULATION IN THE SERVICE TERRITORY OF SAID ELECTRIC CORPORATION; AND (E) BY PUBLICATION ON THE COMMISSION'S WEB SITE. 3. (A) 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 AN ELECTRIC CORPORATION'S PERFORM- ANCE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: (1) THE QUALITY OF ELECTRIC SERVICE; (2) THE IMPACT OF ANY COMMISSION DECISIONS IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR REGARDING RATES FOR SERVICE OR OTHER DECISIONS AFFECTING SERVICE; (3) THE ADMINISTRATION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS AND SERVICES BY THE UTILITY; (4) COMMUNICATION PROTOCOLS BETWEEN A COMPANY AND CUSTOMERS IN ARREARS ON UTILITY CHARGES REGARDING THE POTENTIAL FOR TERMINATION OF SERVICE; (5) SERVICE RESTORATION PERFORMANCE AND CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION DURING ANY OUTAGES OCCURRING IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR; AND (6) ANY ADDITIONAL TOPICS OR INFORMATION THE COMMISSION DEEMS NECES- SARY. (B) NOT LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO A PUBLIC HEARING UNDERTAKEN PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION THE COMMISSION SHALL CREATE AND PUBLISH ON ITS WEB SITE A REPORT REGARDING THE ELECTRIC CORPORATION AND ITS SERVICE TERRITORY THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF SUCH HEARING, WHICH PROVIDES, IN DETAIL FOR THE PREVIOUS YEAR, INFORMATION INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: (1) ANY COMMISSION ORDERS REGARDING RATES AND ALL OTHER DECISIONS DETERMINED RELEVANT BY THE COMMISSION; (2) A LIST OF ALL ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS AND THE NUMBER OF CUSTOM- ERS UTILIZING SAID PROGRAMS;S. 4504--A 3
(3) THE NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE FALLEN INTO ARREARS OVER THE LAST YEAR AND THE NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS WHOSE SERVICE WAS SUSPENDED AND/OR TERMINATED DUE TO ARREARS; (4) THE NUMBER OF WIDESPREAD OUTAGES THAT HAVE OCCURRED IN THE SERVICE TERRITORY OF THE ELECTRIC CORPORATION DUE TO STORMS OR OTHER CAUSES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE ELECTRIC CORPORATION IN THE LAST YEAR, THE NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS AFFECTED BY EACH OUTAGE, THE DURATION OF EACH OUTAGE AND THE CAUSE OF EACH OUTAGE; AND (5) ANY OTHER INFORMATION THE COMMISSION DETERMINES IS RELEVANT TO THE SERVICE TERRITORY. (C) THE COMMISSION SHALL ALSO PUBLISH THE ANNUAL REPORT SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION SIXTY-SIX OF THIS ARTICLE BY THE RESPECTIVE ELECTRIC CORPORATION ON THE COMMISSION'S WEB SITE. S 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.