Relates to hearings following major power outages.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to hearings following major power outages
PURPOSE: To ensure that customers who have experienced a major power outage have an opportunity to provide direct input to the Public Service Commission and/or their senior staff about their experience via a public statement hearing in the affected area.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends the public service law to require that the commission or its senior staff convene public statement hearings in areas affected by major power outages pursuant to a resolution requesting such hearing by specific local governing bodies, defines a "major power outage", sets forth criteria for advertisement of the hearing, limitations on the nature of the testimony to be provided and provides for reporting requirements.
Section 2: Sets forth the effective date
JUSTIFICATION: Natural disasters, severe weather and other circumstances can lead to extended power outages that negatively impact customers. When such outages occur it is important for the Public Service Commission to hear from customers in the affected area directly about their experience during the outage and to assess whether this feedback may warrant changes in regulatory policy moving forward. Currently. The Commission provides avenues for public communication in writing and through its various proceedings, however, such opportunities are not well known by the public and also may not be the best avenue to gather public input from residents still recovering from the impacts of a major power outage. This bill sets forth reasonable criteria that the Commission must abide by in order to gamer and consider public input via public statement hearings in affected areas. The information that such hearings may provide will be helpful in informing the state's decisions makers and ensuring that resident's experience and views are taken into consideration.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal. Commissioners and/or staff may incur de-minims travel expenses and staff time will be required to produce the required reports
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2015.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6373 IN SENATE January 21, 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 hearings follow- ing major power outages 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. FOLLOWING ANY MAJOR POWER OUTAGE, THE COMMISSION SHALL, WITHIN NINETY DAYS, SCHEDULE AT LEAST ONE PUBLIC STATEMENT HEAR- ING IN EACH AFFECTED COUNTY OR IN EACH AFFECTED CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND OR MORE OR IN EACH AFFECTED BOROUGH IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, PROVIDED THAT SUCH HEARING HAS BEEN REQUESTED VIA A FORMAL RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE COUNTY LEGISLATURE OR BOARD OF SUPERVI- SORS IN SUCH AFFECTED COUNTY OR BY THE CITY COUNCIL IN SUCH AFFECTED CITIES WITH A POPULATION OF ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND OR MORE AND THAT SUCH RESOLUTION HAS BEEN TRANSMITTED TO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION BY ELECTRONIC OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION. THE AFFECTED COUNTIES MAY AGREE AMONGST THEMSELVES TO FEWER PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARINGS PROVIDED THAT THE LOCATION OR LOCATIONS OF SUCH HEARING OR HEARINGS ARE CONVENIENTLY LOCATED WITHIN THE GEOGRAPHIC AREA AFFECTED BY THE MAJOR POWER OUTAGE AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE FOR CUSTOMERS. SUCH AN AGREEMENT AMONG THE AFFECTED COUNTIES MUST BE TRANSMITTED TO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION. 2. "MAJOR POWER OUTAGE" SHALL BE DEFINED AS ANY OUTAGE WITHIN A UTILI- TY SERVICE TERRITORY THAT LEAVES FIVE PERCENT OR MORE OF CUSTOMERS WITH- OUT POWER FOR AT LEAST SEVENTY-TWO CONSECUTIVE HOURS FOLLOWING THE EVENT THAT CAUSED THE OUTAGE. 3. FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROVIDING NOTICE AND SOLICITING PUBLIC COMMENTS, AT LEAST THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO THE PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARING OR HEARINGS REQUIRED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, THE COMMISSION SHALL PROVIDE NOTICE OR ELECTRONIC NOTICE: (A) TO EACH COUNTY AND MUNI- CIPALITY SERVED BY SAID ELECTRIC CORPORATION LOCATED IN THE AREAEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13539-01-4 S. 6373 2
AFFECTED BY THE MAJOR POWER OUTAGE; (B) TO THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SENATE ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE, THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE ASSEMBLY ENERGY COMMITTEE, AND EACH MEMBER OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE THAT REPRES- ENTS AN AREA WHERE SERVICE WAS AFFECTED BY THE MAJOR POWER OUTAGE; (C) BY PUBLICATION ONCE IN EACH WEEK FOR FOUR SUCCESSIVE WEEKS IN A NEWSPA- PER AND ON THE WEB SITE OF A NEWSPAPER THAT HAS GENERAL CIRCULATION IN THE GEOGRAPHIC AREA AFFECTED BY THE MAJOR POWER OUTAGE LOCATED WITHIN THE SERVICE TERRITORY OF SAID ELECTRIC CORPORATION; AND (D) BY PUBLICA- TION ON THE COMMISSION'S WEBSITE. 4. A MEMBER OR MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION OR DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE SENIOR STAFF, DESIGNATED BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION, SHALL BE PRESENT IN PERSON AT THE PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARINGS REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION AND SHALL BEGIN WITH A PRESENTATION ON DATA COLLECTED DURING THE RECENT OUTAGE, INCLUDING INFORMATION ON RESTO- RATION TIMES IN THE AFFECTED COUNTY OR CITY, CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS AND OTHER DATA WHICH THE COMMISSION OR ITS DESIGNEE MAY DEEM APPROPRIATE. THE COMMISSION MEMBERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES SHALL THEN SOLICIT PUBLIC COMMENT FROM RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS FROM THE AFFECTED COUNTY OR CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND OR MORE OR BOROUGH IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK. SUCH TESTIMONY SHALL BE LIMITED TO: (A) CUSTOMER FEEDBACK ON THEIR EXPERIENCE DURING THE RECENT OUTAGE, INCLUDING ISSUES RELATED TO POWER RESTORATION, RESTORATION TIMES AND SERVICE QUALITY; (B) SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGES IN COMMISSION POLICY IN THE AFFECTED SERVICE TERRITORY WHICH, IN THE CUSTOMER'S VIEW WOULD LEAD TO BETTER SERVICE QUALITY; (C) COMMUNICATION PROTOCOLS BETWEEN A COMPANY AND CUSTOMERS DURING AN OUTAGE AND HOW SUCH PROTOCOLS MAY BE IMPROVED; AND (D) ANY ADDITIONAL TOPICS OF INFORMATION THAT THE COMMISSION MAY DETERMINE ARE NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE. 5. WITHIN ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DAYS OF THE CONCLUSION OF SUCH PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARING, THE COMMISSION SHALL PUBLISH ON ITS WEBSITE A REPORT SUMMARIZING THE EVENTS OF THE PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARING AND ANY RECOM- MENDED POLICY CHANGES THAT IT MAY HAVE INITIATED. SUCH REPORT SHALL ALSO BE TRANSMITTED TO THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SENATE ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNI- CATIONS COMMITTEE, THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE ASSEMBLY ENERGY COMMITTEE, EACH MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE WHOSE DISTRICT LIES IN WHOLE OR IN PART IN THE AFFECTED COUNTY, THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE OR ADMINISTRATOR AND THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COUNTY LEGISLATURE OR BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND THE MAYOR OF ANY CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND OR MORE THAT WAS THE SUBJECT OF SUCH HEARING. S 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2015.