senate Bill S2057A

Amended

Establishes a small business energy assistance and advocacy services program

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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

  • 10 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO COMMERCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS
  • 08 / May / 2013
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO COMMERCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS
  • 08 / May / 2013
    • PRINT NUMBER 2057A
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO COMMERCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS
  • 13 / Jan / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO COMMERCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS
  • 13 / Jan / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 2057B

Summary

Establishes a small business energy assistance and advocacy services program as part of the division of small business to assist small businesses in accessing energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy programs available through public and private sources; requires notice to be given to the division of small business prior to any rate increase; makes related provisions.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6640A
Versions:
S2057
S2057A
S2057B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Commerce, Economic Development And Small Business
Law Section:
Economic Development Law
Laws Affected:
Add §138-a, Ec Dev L; add §§24-c, amd §§71 & 84, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S2822, A235
2009-2010: S5942, A6766

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2057A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the economic development law and the
public service law, in relation to small business energy assistance
and advocacy services

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would improve New York's
business climate by providing for a program of small business energy
assistance and advocacy.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Bill § 1 sets forth legislative
findings concerning the impact of rising costs on the State's small
businesses and the need for a program of assistance and advocacy to
ensure the continued vitality of this crucial sector.

Bill § 2 adds a new § 138-a to the Economic Development Law to
establish a small business energy assistance and advocacy services
program within the Division for Small Business. The program shall:

* solicit input from small businesses and organizations representing
them on energy assistance needs; identify issues relating to energy
availability, affordability and sustainability affecting small
businesses; and develop recommendations for legislative, regulatory
and programmatic actions to address such issues;

* coordinate with entities including NYSERDA, the Power Authority and
other public utility authorities, the Public Service Commission (PSC)
and utilities to promote small business participation in developing
and implementing energy assistance programs and state energy policy;

* provide small businesses with information and materials on energy
assistance programs, cooperative fuel purchasing efforts and other
programs to maintain the affordability of energy, and provide access
to such information and materials on the Department of Economic
Development's website; and

* refer small businesses to specialists for information and assistance
on affordable alternative technologies, process changes, products and
operational methods to achieve energy savings.

The program, through the Division, shall represent the interests of
small businesses before the PSC pursuant to a new § 24-c of the Public
Service Law, and is authorized to initiate, intervene in or
Participate in any proceedings before the PSC and in any other such
energy-related proceedings as deemed necessary or appropriate. The
program shall also advocate before the PSC and other state and Federal
regulatory agencies for the adoption of appropriate regulations
providing for quit able treatment of small businesses in
energy-related policies, including but not limited to extending
reasonable consumer protections to small businesses in energy-related
matters.

Bill § 3 adds a new § 24-c to the Public Service Law to require that
the Division be given notice prior to any filing for a rate increase
or other change in utility regulation. Should the division file a
statement of intent to be a party in a PSC proceeding, it shall have
and may exercise all the rights and privileges of a party.


Bill §§ 4 & 5 amend §§ 71 and 84 of the Public Service Law,
respectively, to specifically authorize the Division to initiate
complaints with the PSC regarding energy services (gas and electric:
PSL § 71 and steam: PSL § 84). This mirrors the way that the utility
advocacy unit within the Department of State for representing the
interest of consumers

EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: This bill would
establish a program of energy assistance and advocacy for small
businesses, and would authorize the Division for Small Business to
represent the interests of small businesses before the PSC and in
other energy-related proceedings, much in the way that the Consumer
Protection Board does for the State's consumers.

JUSTIFICATION: Changes in the energy market are having a major impact
on small businesses. Skyrocketing energy costs threaten the viability
of many small businesses, while the opportunities created by
conservation measures, alternative energy sources, co-generation and
net metering, and financing help often require substantial investments
of time and effort. Unlike larger businesses, small businesses often
lack the resources to take full advantage of available programs to
assist them in lowering their energy bills and "going green."

This information gap undercuts the effectiveness of our strategies to
reduce fossil fuel use and preserve the environment. This bill would
create a "one stop" energy assistance program at the Division for
Small Business to make it easier for our entrepreneurs to learn about,
compare and select energy alternatives that will best fit their
operations and enable continued growth. The program would enhance the
ability of New York's small businesses to take advantage of programs
offered by NYSERDA, public utility authorities and investor-owned
utilities, as well as the new small business energy efficiency
programs included in the Federal "Energy Independence and Security Act
of 2007" (P.L. 110-140).

The Division would also be empowered to represent the interests of
small businesses in PSC rote cases and other proceedings relating to
energy prices and policies. While the Consumer Protection Board has
for many years been involved in advocating for residential energy
customers, no organization has been similarly vested with
responsibility for ensuring that small businesses are represented in
rate deliberations or in the development of state programs and
policies on energy. Other states(including our neighbor, Pennsylvania)
have recognized the value of a dedicated small business advocate in
energy proceedings.

Taken together, the provisions of this bill will help to ensure that
small businesses can take full advantage of conservation, efficiency
and renewable energy programs and can obtain affordable energy to
enable them - and our economy - to grow.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10 - A.6766 (Latimer) passed
Assembly, tabled 2009-10 - S.5942 (Stewart-Cousins) passed Senate,
tabled 2011-12 - A.235 (Latimer) passed assembly 2011-12 - S.2822
Stewart Cousins) REFERRED TO COMMERCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SMALL
BUSINESS


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The Department of Economic Development already
receives a percentage of the annual assessment on public utilities and
corporations authorized by Public Service Law § 18-a. The percentages
of assessments allocated to specific agencies are changed each year in
the budget process. Any additional funding required to implement the
Division's responsibilities under Economic Development Law § 138-a and
Public Service Law § 24-c can be achieved through such a reallocation.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 1, 2014. This will provide sufficient time
to organize the energy assistance and advocacy program and arrange for
funding under the PSL assessment on utilities.

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

                                 2057--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 10, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  LATIMER, DILAN, ESPAILLAT, MONTGOMERY, SAMPSON --
  read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
  the  Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business --
  committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as  amended  and
  recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the economic development law and the public service law,
  in relation to small business energy assistance and advocacy services

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

  Section 1. The legislature hereby finds and declares that rising ener-
gy costs present a significant barrier to the economic viability of  New
York's  small businesses, a crucial sector of the state's economy. Small
businesses can least afford the time and cost  associated  with  seeking
opportunities  to conserve energy, utilize energy efficient products and
processes and gain access to renewable sources of energy. The  viability
of small businesses and the overall economic and environmental status of
New  York  state  will  be  enhanced  by  the development, expansion and
promotion of accessible and affordable programs to  assist  small  busi-
nesses  in  energy conservation, energy efficiency, and increased use of
renewable resources, and by ensuring equitable treatment of small  busi-
nesses in the proceedings of energy-related regulatory agencies.
  The  legislature hereby establishes a small business energy assistance
and advocacy services program as part of the division for small business
within the New York state department of economic development  to  assist
small businesses in accessing energy conservation, energy efficiency and
renewable  energy programs available through public and private sources,
and to advocate for the initiation and expansion of  such  programs  and
for  equitable  treatment  of small businesses in regulatory proceedings
related to energy.
  S 2. The economic development law is amended by adding a  new  section
138-a to read as follows:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03293-02-3

S. 2057--A                          2

  S  138-A.  SMALL  BUSINESS  ENERGY  ASSISTANCE  AND  ADVOCACY SERVICES
PROGRAM.  1. THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED WITHIN  THE  DIVISION  A  SMALL
BUSINESS ENERGY ASSISTANCE AND ADVOCACY SERVICES PROGRAM.
  2. THE SMALL BUSINESS ENERGY ASSISTANCE AND ADVOCACY SERVICES PROGRAM,
DIRECTLY  AND  IN CONJUNCTION WITH OTHER DIVISIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT AND
WITH OTHER AGENCIES OF THE STATE, FEDERAL AGENCIES OR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS,
SHALL:
  A. SOLICIT INPUT FROM SMALL BUSINESSES AND FROM ORGANIZATIONS  REPRES-
ENTING  SMALL  BUSINESSES, SUCH AS TRADE ASSOCIATIONS OR OTHER ENTITIES,
REGARDING THE ENERGY ASSISTANCE NEEDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES;
  B. WITH SUCH INPUT AND THE ASSISTANCE OF THE SMALL  BUSINESS  ADVISORY
BOARD  AND OTHER APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCIES, IDENTIFY ISSUES RELATING TO
ENERGY AVAILABILITY, AFFORDABILITY AND  SUSTAINABILITY  AFFECTING  SMALL
BUSINESSES  AND  ASSIST  THE  ADVISORY  BOARD AND THE DIVISION IN MAKING
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEGISLATIVE, REGULATORY AND PROGRAMMATIC ACTIONS  TO
ADDRESS SUCH ISSUES;
  C.  COORDINATE  WITH  ENTITIES  INCLUDING  THE  NEW  YORK STATE ENERGY
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, THE POWER AUTHORITY OF THE STATE  OF
NEW  YORK  AND  OTHER APPROPRIATE PUBLIC UTILITY AUTHORITIES ESTABLISHED
PURSUANT TO ARTICLE FIVE OF  THE  PUBLIC  AUTHORITIES  LAW,  THE  PUBLIC
SERVICE COMMISSION, INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES AND OTHER APPROPRIATE ENTI-
TIES TO FACILITATE AND PROMOTE THE PARTICIPATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES AND
ASSOCIATIONS REPRESENTING SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLE-
MENTATION OF ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS;
  D.  PROVIDE  GUIDANCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE NEW YORK STATE ENERGY
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, THE POWER AUTHORITY OF THE STATE  OF
NEW  YORK  AND  OTHER PUBLIC UTILITY AUTHORITIES ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO
ARTICLE FIVE OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES LAW, THE PUBLIC  SERVICE  COMMIS-
SION, INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES AND OTHER ENTITIES REGARDING THE DEVELOP-
MENT  AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AND ON THE IMPACT
OF STATE ENERGY POLICY ON SMALL BUSINESSES;
  E. PROVIDE TO SMALL BUSINESSES INFORMATION  AND  MATERIALS  ON  ENERGY
ASSISTANCE  PROGRAMS,  COOPERATIVE  FUEL  PURCHASING  EFFORTS  AND OTHER
PROGRAMS TO MAINTAIN THE AFFORDABILITY OF ENERGY, AND PROVIDE ACCESS  TO
SUCH INFORMATION AND MATERIALS ON THE DEPARTMENT'S WEBSITE; AND
  F.  REFER  SMALL BUSINESSES TO SPECIALISTS FOR INFORMATION AND ASSIST-
ANCE ON AFFORDABLE ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES, PROCESS  CHANGES,  PRODUCTS
AND OPERATIONAL METHODS TO ACHIEVE ENERGY SAVINGS.
  3.  A.  THE  SMALL  BUSINESS  ENERGY  ASSISTANCE AND ADVOCACY SERVICES
PROGRAM SHALL REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF  SMALL  BUSINESSES  BEFORE  THE
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-FOUR-C, SEVENTY-ONE
OR  EIGHTY-FOUR  OF  THE  PUBLIC SERVICE LAW, AND SHALL BE AUTHORIZED TO
INITIATE, INTERVENE IN OR PARTICIPATE  IN  ANY  PROCEEDINGS  BEFORE  THE
PUBLIC   SERVICE   COMMISSION  AND  IN  ANY  OTHER  SUCH  ENERGY-RELATED
PROCEEDINGS AS THE DIVISION DEEMS TO BE NECESSARY OR APPROPRIATE.
  B. THE SMALL BUSINESS ENERGY ASSISTANCE AND ADVOCACY SERVICES  PROGRAM
SHALL  ADVOCATE BEFORE THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND OTHER STATE AND
FEDERAL REGULATORY AGENCIES FOR THE ADOPTION OF APPROPRIATE  REGULATIONS
PROVIDING  FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN ENERGY-RELATED
POLICIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED  TO  EXTENDING  REASONABLE  CONSUMER
PROTECTIONS TO SMALL BUSINESSES IN ENERGY-RELATED MATTERS.
  S 3. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 24-c to
read as follows:
  S  24-C.  NOTICE  TO  BE  GIVEN TO DIVISION PRIOR TO RATE INCREASE. 1.
NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INCONSISTENT GENERAL, SPECIAL OR LOCAL LAW  OR  RULE
OR  REGULATION  TO  THE CONTRARY, THE COMMISSION SHALL TO THE EXTENT THE

S. 2057--A                          3

DIVISION SHALL SO REQUEST IN ANY CASES OR CLASS OF CASES, GIVE NOTICE TO
THE DIVISION OF ANY FILED STATEMENT  PROPOSING  TO  MODIFY  OR  INCREASE
RATES,  SERVICES, SCHEDULE OF RATES OR ANY OTHER RATING RULE OR TO ADOPT
OR AMEND ANY RATE OR SERVICE RULES OR REGULATIONS WITHIN FIVE DAYS AFTER
THE  COMMISSION  SHALL  HAVE  RECEIVED  SUCH  STATEMENT FROM ANY UTILITY
SUBJECT TO ITS JURISDICTION; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IN LIEU  OF  GIVING
SUCH NOTICE, THE COMMISSION MAY DIRECT THAT THE UTILITY GIVE SUCH NOTICE
TO  THE  DIVISION.  THE COMMISSION SHALL DIRECTLY NOTIFY THE DIVISION OF
ANY SUCH CASE THAT IS NOT INITIATED BY A UTILITY.
  2. IN ANY SUCH CASE IN WHICH THE DIVISION SHALL FILE WITH THE  COMMIS-
SION A STATEMENT OF INTENT TO BE A PARTY, THE DIVISION SHALL HAVE AND IN
ITS DISCRETION MAY EXERCISE ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF A PARTY.
  3.  FOR  THE  PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "DIVISION" SHALL MEAN
THE DIVISION FOR SMALL BUSINESS ESTABLISHED BY  ARTICLE  FOUR-B  OF  THE
ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT  LAW,  AND  THE  TERM  "COMMISSION" SHALL MEAN THE
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION.
  S 4. Section 71 of the public service law, as amended by section 48 of
part A of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
  S 71. Complaints as to quality  and  price  of  gas  and  electricity;
investigation  by commission; forms of complaints. Upon the complaint in
writing of the mayor of a city, the trustees  of  a  village,  the  town
board  of  a town or the chief executive officer or the legislative body
of a county in which a person or corporation is authorized  to  manufac-
ture,  convey,  transport,  sell  or supply gas or electricity for heat,
light or power, or upon the complaint in writing of not less than  twen-
ty-five  customers or purchasers of such gas or electricity, or upon the
complaint in writing of the department of  state  OR  THE  DIVISION  FOR
SMALL  BUSINESS,  or upon a complaint of a gas corporation or electrical
corporation supplying or transmitting said gas or electricity, as to the
illuminating or heating power, purity or pressure or the rates,  charges
or  classifications  of  service  of gas, the efficiency of the electric
incandescent lamp supply, the voltage of the current supplied for light,
heat or power, or the rates charged  or  classification  of  service  of
electricity  sold  and  delivered  in  such municipality, the commission
shall investigate  as  to  the  cause  for  such  complaint.  When  such
complaint  is  made,  the  commission  may, by its agents, examiners and
inspectors, inspect the works, system, plant,  devices,  appliances  and
methods  used  by such person or corporation in manufacturing, transmit-
ting and supplying such gas or electricity, and may examine or cause  to
be examined the books and papers of such person, or corporation pertain-
ing  to the manufacture, sale, transmitting and supplying of such gas or
electricity. The form and contents of complaints  made  as  provided  in
this  section  shall  be  prescribed  by the commission. Such complaints
shall be signed by the officers, or  by  the  customers,  purchasers  or
subscribers  making  them, who must add to their signatures their places
of residence, by street and number, if any.
  S 5. Section 84 of the public service law, as amended by section 49 of
part A of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
  S 84. Complaints as to service and price of steam heat;  investigation
by commission; forms of complaints. Upon the complaint in writing of the
mayor of the city, the trustees of a village or the town board of a town
in  which  a person or corporation is authorized to manufacture, sell or
supply steam for heat or power, or upon the complaint in writing of  not
less  than fifty customers or purchasers of such steam heat in cities of
the first or second class, or of not less than twenty-five in cities  of
the  third  class,  or  of  not  less  than  ten  elsewhere, or upon the

S. 2057--A                          4

complaint in writing of the department of  state  OR  THE  DIVISION  FOR
SMALL  BUSINESS,  as  to  the  price,  pressure  or  efficiency of steam
supplied for heat or power, sold and delivered in such municipality, the
commission  shall  investigate  as to the cause for such complaint. When
such complaint is made, the commission may, by its agents, examiners and
inspectors, inspect the work, system,  plant,  devices,  appliances  and
methods  used  by such person or corporation in manufacturing, transmit-
ting and supplying such steam, and may examine or cause to  be  examined
the  books  and  papers  of such person or corporation pertaining to the
manufacture, sale, transmitting and supplying of such  steam.  The  form
and  contents  of  complaints  made as provided in this section shall be
prescribed by the commission. Such complaint  shall  be  signed  by  the
officers,  or  by  the customers, purchasers or subscribers making them,
who must add to their signatures their place of residence, by street and
number, if any.
  S 6. This act shall take effect September 1, 2014.    Effective  imme-
diately  the  department  of economic development and the public service
commission shall be authorized to take any and all actions necessary  to
fully implement the provisions of this act on such effective date.

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