Relates to the department of public service and limits increases in the amount of the surcharge of the system benefit charge or the surcharge for the renewable portfolio standard.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to limiting increases in the amount of the surcharge of the system benefit charge or the surcharge for the renewable portfolio standard
To cap the impacts of these three surcharges in order to encourage efficiencies in the application of the RPS SBC and EEPS programs, while protecting ratepayers from increases on their utility bills through a moratorium on any new energy related surcharges, fees or taxes that may be promulgated by the Public Service Commission.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 2: Amends the public service law by adding a new section 18 that caps the surcharges associated with the system benefit charge and renewable portfolio standard at 2014 levels.
Section 3: Places a moratorium on the PSC's ability to impose any new surcharge, tax or fee on utility ratepayers.
Section 4: Sets forth the effective date.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs have increasingly contributed positively to both our State's environmental and economic development Goals. Specifically, we have seen large expansions in the field of first wind energy and now solar energy development, with the ultimate goal as set by the Public Service Commission of meeting 30% of the state's electricity demand from renewable sources. In 2013 we witnessed the highest annual cost for these programs to date, as the total collected for the System Benefit Charge reaches $12,710,140 and for the Renewable Portfolio Standard $243,944,012. Capping these programs at the 2014 level, continues to provide surety to the renewable energy sector by providing consistent and significant funding, while limiting the impact on captive ratepayers. In addition, section two of this bill places a moratorium on any further energy surcharges being added to a customer's bill by the Public Service Commission. The Commission has over the years imposed fees on ratepayers without legislative approval, thereby increasing the cost of utility delivery service without legislative approval. Moving forward, increases on your utility bill, like potential increases in other taxes, would become the purview of the Legislature solely. Managing the cost of electricity is vitally important, because access to affordable electricity and home heating fuel is a necessity for all New Yorkers, and one that more and more of our citizens are struggling with. Historically, utility costs in New York have been higher than most other states - and consumers have felt the effects. A recent AARP survey of New Yorkers over age 50 revealed 41 percent reported that they had difficulty paying their monthly electric bill. This figure was even higher among minority populations with 48 percent of African Americans and 56 percent of Hispanics age 50+ in New York indicating that they experienced difficulty paying their electric bill. According to the same AARP survey in 2010, there were 321,995
residential customers who had their utility service shut off for non-payment of bills. The high utility costs in New York are driven by elevated delivery charges that are largely made up of taxes and surcharges. This nexus is even clearer when measured against the fact that wholesale energy commodity prices in New York reached their lowest level in recent history in 2012. All of this argues for a policy change that preserves our commitment to building clean, renewable energy capacity in New York, while taking actions to ensure greater efficiency in each program, so that any impacts on ratepayer s can be mitigated and controlled.
This is a new bill
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5484--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. MAZIARZ, SEWARD, SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to limiting increases in the amount of the surcharge of the system benefit charge or the surcharge for the renewable portfolio standard 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 "Energy assessment cap and consumer cost relief act of 2014". S 2. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 18 to read as follows: S 18. LIMIT ON SURCHARGE INCREASES. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW, RULE, REGULATION OR ORDER TO THE CONTRARY, THE COMMISSION SHALL NOT INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF THE SURCHARGE OF THE SYSTEM BENEFIT CHARGE OR THE SURCHARGE FOR THE RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD OR THE SURCHARGE FOR THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY PORTFOLIO STANDARD AS ESTABLISHED BY ORDER OF THE COMMISSION FOR ANY YEAR IN EXCESS OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT COLLECTED IN TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN FOR EACH SURCHARGE. S 3. Moratorium on new energy taxes and fees. Notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation or order to the contrary, the public service commission shall not establish any new surcharge assessment, tax or fee on energy consumers, excepting those fees which may arise from an electric gener- ating facility that provides notice of closure to such commission and a reliability need is identified by the bulk system operator. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10908-02-3