Relates to eliminating certain utility surcharges for certain residential customers.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to eliminating certain utility surcharges for certain residential customers
PURPOSE: To lower the electric bills for seniors by eliminating the RPS, SBC, and EEPS surcharges on their electric bills.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill adds a new section to the public service law that eliminates the RPS, SBC, and EEPS surcharges on the electric bills for seniors that are at least 65 years of age and have an income level consistent with the home energy assistance program eligibility standards.
Section 2 of the bill is the effective date,
JUSTIFICATION: Historically, utility costs in New York have been higher than in most other states. These costs are have a significant effect on New York consumers especially our seniors. In a recent AARP survey of New Yorkers over age 50, it was revealed that 41 percent, of those surveyed 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 bills, 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 in part by a series of taxes, fees and surcharges such as the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the system benefit charge (SBC), and the energy efficiency portfolio standard (EEPS). For example, in 2013, New York witnessed the highest. annual cost for these programs to date, as the total collected for the SBC reached almost $13 million and the total for the RPS soared past $243 million. These amounts are paid by New York customers on their utility bills and contribute significantly to the high cost of utility service. In fact, such fees and surcharges are estimated to account for roughly 20% of every electric bill.
Although these surcharges may serve a worthy purpose, the increasing costs of the surcharges are a substantial burden to seniors especially those on fixed or limited incomes,. As the AARP survey revealed, some relief on electric bills may be appropriate for our seniors in order to ensure that they can maintain adequate utility service. To that end, this legislation provides much needed relief by eliminating these surcharges on the utility bills of seniors that need assistance the most.
In order to effectively help seniors with reducing the burden of high electric bills, direct and tangible benefits must be provided. Other proposed solutions for seniors merely create new (but duplicative) government bureaucracies that raise the cost of government and do not deliver a direct reduction in a senior's monthly electric bill. By eliminating these ever-increasing surcharges for seniors, this bill
will lower their monthly electric bills, allow them to better maintain utility service and enhance their ability to acquire other necessities of life.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: On the 90th day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6195 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 8, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. MAZIARZ -- 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 eliminating certain utility surcharges for certain residential customers 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 54 to read as follows: S 54. ELIMINATION OF SURCHARGES FOR CERTAIN RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW, RULE, REGULATION OR ORDER TO THE CONTRARY, NEITHER THE SURCHARGE FOR THE SYSTEM BENEFIT CHARGE NOR THE SURCHARGE FOR THE RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD NOR THE SURCHARGE FOR THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY PORTFOLIO STANDARD SHALL APPLY TO, OR BE APPLIED TO, ANY ELECTRIC OR GAS BILL FOR A RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMER THAT IS AT LEAST SIXTY- FIVE YEARS OF AGE WHOSE INCOME LEVEL WOULD QUALIFY SUCH CUSTOMER FOR THE HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AS DESCRIBED IN PART 393 OF TITLE 18 OF THE NEW YORK CODES, RULES AND REGULATIONS. NO REVENUES FOREGONE BY A GAS CORPORATION OR AN ELECTRIC CORPORATION OR ANY STATE ENTITY AS A RESULT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE RECOVERED FROM ANY OTHER CUSTOMER OR CLASS OF CUSTOMERS. THE COMMISSION SHALL ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO AGE AND INCOME VERIFICATION AND ANY OTHER RULES AND REGULATIONS AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY AND PROPER TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law; provided however, that effective immediately the public service commission is authorized to amend, revise and/or repeal any rule, regulation, order or policy necessary for the implementation of this act on or before such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13295-01-4