senate Bill S2533

Prohibits any gas or electric corporation from absolving itself from liability for service interruption arising from employee negligence

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 25 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Summary

Prohibits gas and electric corporations from filing any schedules setting forth rules or regulations which absolve or attempt to absolve such corporations from liability for the interruption of its supply of service arising from the ordinary negligence of its employees, servants or agents and provides that any such schedules filed are void as against public policy.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S2533
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §66, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2009-2010: A1555
2007-2008: A8334

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2533

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public service law, in relation to the liability of gas
and electric corporations
arising from the negligence of their employees, servants or agents

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
In its January 2007 report, the Assembly Queens Power Outage Task Force
recommended several measures to improve oversight of utilities and
prevent future blackouts. This bill will provide incentives for
utilities to ensure that their systems provide safe and adequate service
by eliminating special treatment for electricity and gas suppliers with
respect to their responsibility for negligent operations.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Bill § 1 amends subdivision 12 of § 66 of the Public Service Law to
prohibit the filing by gas or electric corporations of any schedules
absolving any such corporation from liability for the interruption of
its supply of services arising from the ordinary negligence of its
employees, servants, or agents. Any such schedule currently filed is
deemed void as against public policy.

EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER:
No current statutory language addresses waivers of ordinary negligence
by gas or electric corporations.

JUSTIFICATION:
Last summer, the western part of Queens suffered a massive power outage
that lasted 9 days. The Assembly Queens Power Outage Task Force studied
the outage's causes and the inadequate responses by the company
responsible for the transmission and distribution system, Consolidated
Edison, and by the Public Service Commission. One underlying cause of
this debacle was found to be the reliance by New York's utility
regulators on antiquated laws, regulations and policies that let
companies engaged in energy transmission and distribution operate
without effective oversight.

Several of the findings and recommendations of the Task Force concerned
the inadequacy of Consolidated Edison's policies regarding reimbursement
for its failure to deliver a safe and adequate supply of electricity, as
the Public Service Law requires. One fundamental barrier to the public's
ability to be appropriately compensated is the current language in the
tariffs filed by electric and gas utilities disclaiming any
responsibility for disruptions of service, except in cases of gross
negligence.

The Task Force recommended that the Legislature should amend the Public
Service Law to remove the tariff bar against suits for damages from
outages due to simple negligence. This bill would accomplish this goal,
which would result in assigning the same degree of legal responsibility
to operators of energy transmission and distribution systems as
virtually every other business currently bears.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None.


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2533

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 25, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. GIANARIS -- 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 the liability of
  gas and electric corporations arising from  the  negligence  of  their
  employees, servants or agents

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

   Section 1.  Subdivision 12 of section 66 of the public service law is
amended by adding a new undesignated paragraph to read as follows:
  NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE CONSTRUED  TO,  AND  NO
RULE,  REGULATION,  ORDER  OR PRACTICE OF THE COMMISSION SHALL AUTHORIZE
THE FILING BY ANY GAS CORPORATION OR ELECTRIC CORPORATION OF ANY  SCHED-
ULE  SETTING  FORTH  RULES  OR  REGULATIONS RELATING TO RATES OR SERVICE
WHICH, IN WORDS OR EFFECT, ABSOLVE OR ATTEMPT  TO  ABSOLVE  SUCH  CORPO-
RATION  FROM  LIABILITY  FOR  THE  INTERRUPTION OF ITS SUPPLY OF SERVICE
ARISING FROM THE ORDINARY  NEGLIGENCE  OF  ITS  EMPLOYEES,  SERVANTS  OR
AGENTS.    ANY  PART  OF  ANY SCHEDULE FILED BY SUCH CORPORATION SETTING
FORTH ANY SUCH RULES OR REGULATIONS RELATING TO ABSOLUTION FROM  LIABIL-
ITY SHALL BE DEEMED VOID AS AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05754-01-1

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