senate Bill S566

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

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • 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:
S566
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §66, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S2533
2009-2010: A1555
2007-2008: A8334

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S566

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:
In the Summer of 2011, 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:


2012: Senate Bill
2533 (Gianaris) Died in Senate Energy &
Telecommunications Committee

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
________________________________________________________________________

                                   566

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

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.
                                                           LBD01854-01-3

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