Bill S5696A-2013

Directs the public service commission to study and eliminate utility billing messages that are no longer relevant or confusing

Directs the public service commission to study and eliminate utility billing messages that are no longer relevant or confusing; requires the public service commission to develop recommendations for utility bills that are standardized, uniform and easy to understand.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • Jun 11, 2013: PRINT NUMBER 5696A
  • Jun 11, 2013: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • Jun 5, 2013: REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5696A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to direct the public service commission to study and report on streamlining orders and actions associated with bills for residential electric, gas, telephone and water customers; and to amend the public service law, in relation to directing the public service commission to develop recommendations for standardized, uniform and easy to understand utility bills

PURPOSE:

This legislation directs the Public Service Commission to streamline orders and actions associated with bills for residential electric, gas, telephone and water customers, and develop recommendations for standardized, uniform and easy to understand utility bills.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Directs the public service commission to study the past orders and actions related to billing messages and determine which messages are no longer relevant. The study shall result in a report with details the related orders and commission actions that are no longer necessary and hinder companies from providing streamline consumer bills.

Section 2: Amends Section 5 of the Public Service Law by adding a subdivision that requires the commission to develop and publish recommendations for utility service providers to improve the billing system by generating bills that are standardized, uniform and easy to understand.

Section 3: Effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

Telephone and utility bills are often confusing, especially for the elderly and those with disabilities. By studying and changing the required billing messages that were developed prior to industry competition, it will likely result in much less confusing bills for residential customers of electric, gas, telephone and water companies. Simplifying utility service providers billing system will likely lead to less confusion and make it much easier to understand, giving consumers an easier time comparing bills between companies.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect 90 days after it becomes law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5696--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE June 5, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. LIBOUS -- 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 direct the public service commission to study and report on streamlining orders and actions associated with bills for residential electric, gas, telephone and water customers; and to amend the public service law, in relation to directing the public service commission to develop recommendations for standardized, uniform and easy to under- stand utility bills THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. (a) The public service commission is directed to study the past orders and actions related to matters which required billing messages that were developed prior to industry competition and that may be creating confusing bills for residential customers of electric, gas, telephone and water companies. Specifically, such study shall review the past commission orders and actions and determine which bill messages are no longer relevant and should be removed because the information required to be included in the consumer bills is no longer relevant and may be largely ignored by most consumers. In such cases, the public service commission shall no longer require this information to be included in customer bills, but can make such information available via the utility company's public website in lieu of requiring this informa- tion in consumer bills. In completing this study, the public service commission shall reduce bill messages that are no longer needed. (b) This study shall result in a report, which details all billing related orders and commission actions that are no longer necessary and can hinder companies from providing streamlined consumer bills. The study and report shall be filed, on or before December 31, 2014, with the governor, the director of the division of the budget, the speaker of
the assembly, the temporary president of the senate, the chair of the assembly way and means committee, the chair of the senate finance committee and the chairs of the assembly standing committee on corpo- rations, authorities and commissions and the senate energy and telecom- munications committee. Such study and report shall also be posted on the website of the public service commission by December 31, 2014 and shall be deemed a public document. S 2. Section 5 of the public service law is amended by adding a new subdivision 7 to read as follows: 7. THE COMMISSION SHALL DEVELOP AND PUBLISH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROVIDERS OF ELECTRIC, GAS, STEAM, TELEPHONE AND WATER SERVICES FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN IMPROVED BILLING SYSTEM FOR EACH TYPE OF SUCH SERVICE PROVIDERS AND FOR BILLS THAT ARE STANDARDIZED, UNIFORM AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.

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