senate Bill S1210

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Prohibits the discontinuance of utility service to multiple dwellings for non-payment of bills

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to energy and telecommunications
Jan 06, 2011 referred to energy and telecommunications

S1210 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A5930
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง33, 116 & 32, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S1378, A4605

S1210 - Bill Texts

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Provides that no public utility shall discontinue gas, electric, steam or water service for non-payment of bills to an entire multiple dwelling but shall have all rights otherwise provided by law, including the right to file a lien against the property.

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BILL NUMBER:S1210

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public service law, in relation to prohibiting
discontinuance of utility service to
multiple dwellings

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA:
Prohibits the discontinuance of utility service (gas, electric, steam
or water service} to multiple dwellings for non-payment of bills;
repealer.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Amends section 33 of the public service law as added by chapter 713 of
the laws of 1981, paragraphs (c) and (d) of subdivision 1 as amended
by chapter 195 of the laws of 2010

JUSTIFICATION:
Under current law, if a landlord fails to pay the utility bill for a
multiple dwelling the tenants can pay the bill and deduct the payment
from their rent. This places an unfair burden on tenants to act or
face loss of utility service. This legislation will allow utility
companies to recover the unpaid moneys through any lawful means other
than disconnection of services.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This bill has been introduced in previous legislation sessions.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                  1210

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 6, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. STAVISKY -- 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 prohibiting
  discontinuance of utility service to multiple dwellings

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

  Section  1.  Section 33 of the public service law, as added by chapter
713 of the laws of 1981, paragraphs (c) and  (d)  of  subdivision  1  as
amended  by  chapter  195  of  the  laws  of 2010, is amended to read as
follows:
  S 33. Discontinuance of residential utility service to multiple dwell-
ings. [1. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no public utility
company or municipality shall discontinue gas, electric or steam service
to an entire multiple dwelling (as defined in the multiple dwelling  law
or  the  multiple  residence  law)  located  anywhere  in this state for
nonpayment of bills rendered for service unless such utility shall  have
given  fifteen days written notice of its intention so to discontinue as
follows:
  (a) Such notice shall be served personally on the owner of  the  prem-
ises  affected,  or in lieu thereof, to the person, firm, or corporation
to whom or which the last preceding bill has been rendered and from whom
or which the utility has received payment therefor, and  to  the  super-
intendent  or  other  person  in  charge  of  the  building  or premises
affected, if it can be readily ascertained that  there  is  such  super-
intendent or other person in charge.
  (b)  In  lieu  of  personal delivery to the person or persons, firm or
corporation specified in (a) above, such notice may be mailed in a post-
paid wrapper to the address of such person or persons,  firm  or  corpo-
ration.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00580-01-1

S. 1210                             2

  (c)  In  addition  to the notice prescribed by paragraph (a) or (b) of
this subdivision, fifteen days written notice shall be (i) posted in the
public areas of such multiple dwelling, (ii) mailed to the "Occupant" of
each unit in that multiple dwelling, (iii) mailed to  the  local  health
officer  and  the director of the social services district for the poli-
tical subdivision in which the multiple dwelling is located, (iv) if the
multiple dwelling is located in a city or a village, mailed to the mayor
thereof, or if there be none, to the manager, or, if the multiple dwell-
ing is located in a town, then mailed to the town supervisor, (v) mailed
to the county executive of the county in which the multiple dwelling  is
located,  or  if  there  be  none, then to the chairman of such county's
legislative body, and (vi) mailed to the office of the  New  York  state
long  term  care  ombudsman,  if  the multiple dwelling is a residential
health care facility as defined in subdivision three of section  twenty-
eight  hundred  one  of the public health law, an adult care facility as
defined in subdivision twenty-one of section two of the social  services
law,  or  an  assisted living residence as defined in subdivision one of
section forty-six hundred fifty-one of the public health law as added by
chapter two of the laws of  two  thousand  four.    Notice  required  by
subparagraphs  (iv)  and  (v)  of  this  paragraph  may be mailed to the
persons specified therein or to their respective designees.  The  notice
required  by  this paragraph shall state the intended date of discontin-
uance of service, the amount due for such service, and the procedure  by
which  any  tenant  or  public  agency may make such payment and thereby
avoid discontinuance of service.
  (d) The written notice required by subparagraphs (iii), (iv), (v)  and
(vi)  of  paragraph  (c)  of this subdivision shall be repeated not more
than four days nor less than two days prior to such discontinuance.
  1-a. Whenever a notice of intention to discontinue utility service has
been made pursuant to the provisions of  this  section  and  obligations
owed  the  utility  or  municipality have been satisfied, the utility or
municipality shall notify, in the same manner as it gave such notice  of
intention,  the  occupant of each unit that the intention to discontinue
utility service no longer exists.
  2. For the purposes of  this  section,  the  department  charged  with
enforcing  the  multiple  dwelling  law  shall prepare a schedule of all
multiple dwellings within its jurisdiction and shall provide a  copy  of
such  schedule to any gas, steam or electric corporation or municipality
subject to the provisions of this  section.    Such  schedule  shall  be
revised  semi-annually  and a revised copy provided to such corporation.
Every county, and every municipality to which the multiple dwelling  law
does  not  apply, which county or municipality has compiled or hereafter
may compile a listing of all multiple dwellings within its  jurisdiction
shall  make  such  listing available without charge to any gas, steam or
electric corporation providing service in such county or municipality.
  3. Any gas, electric or steam corporation or municipality which  will-
fully  fails  to  comply  with  the  provisions of this section shall be
liable for a penalty of twenty-five dollars for each  occupied  unit  of
the  multiple  dwelling  for each day during which service is unlawfully
discontinued; provided, however, that when the only non-compliance  with
this section is failure to mail notice to each "Occupant" as required by
clause  (ii) of paragraph (c) of subdivision one above the penalty shall
be twenty-five dollars for each occupied unit of the  multiple  dwelling
to  which  notice  was  not  mailed for each day during which service is
unlawfully discontinued.   An action to recover  a  penalty  under  this
section  may be brought by the counsel to the commission in any court of

S. 1210                             3

competent jurisdiction in this state in the name of the  people  of  the
state  of New York. Any moneys recovered in such action shall be paid to
the state treasury to the credit of the general fund.
  4.  Any person who willfully interferes with the posting of the notice
specified in clause (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision one above by any
gas, steam or electric corporation or municipality, willfully defaces or
mutilates any such notice, or willfully removes the same from the  place
where  it  is posted by such company prior to the date specified therein
for the discontinuance of service shall be guilty of  a  violation  and,
upon  conviction,  shall be punished by a fine not exceeding twenty-five
dollars.
  5. The commission shall maintain rules and regulations for the payment
by tenants of utility bills for gas, electric  or  steam  service  in  a
multiple  dwelling  to which this section applies where the owner of any
such multiple dwelling, or the person, firm or corporation  to  whom  or
which  the  last  preceding bill has been rendered or from whom or which
the utility or municipality has received payment therefor, has failed to
pay such utility bills. Such rules and  regulations  shall  (a)  provide
that utility service may not be discontinued to any such multiple dwell-
ing  as  long as the tenants continue to make timely payments in accord-
ance with established procedures; (b) include designation of  an  office
to  advise  tenants  of  the rights and procedures available pursuant to
such rules and regulations; (c) assure that tenants shall not be  liable
for  bills  more than two months in arrears; and (d) require the commis-
sion upon petition of twenty-five percent of the tenants of such  multi-
ple dwelling to meet with representatives of such tenants and the owner,
person, firm or corporation to whom or which the last preceding bill has
been  rendered  or  from  whom or which the utility has received payment
therefor] NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, NO PUBLIC  UTILITY
COMPANY  SHALL  DISCONTINUE  GAS, ELECTRIC, STEAM OR WATER SERVICE TO AN
ENTIRE MULTIPLE DWELLING, AS DEFINED IN THE MULTIPLE DWELLING LAW OR THE
MULTIPLE RESIDENCE LAW, LOCATED ANYWHERE IN THIS STATE  FOR  NON-PAYMENT
OF BILLS RENDERED FOR SERVICE.  SUCH COMPANY SHALL HAVE ALL OTHER RIGHTS
AS IN ANY OTHER CASE WHERE MONEY IS OWING INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO,
THE RIGHT TO FILE A LIEN AGAINST THE PROPERTY SO AFFECTED.
  S  2. Section 116 of the public service law, as amended by chapter 713
of the laws of 1981, subdivision 5 as separately amended by chapter  511
of the laws of 1981, is amended to read as follows:
  S  116.  Discontinuance  of  water  service to multiple dwellings. [1.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no public  utility  company
shall  discontinue  water  service  to  an  entire multiple dwelling (as
defined in the multiple dwelling law  or  the  multiple  residence  law)
located  anywhere  in  this  state  for nonpayment of bills rendered for
service unless such utility  shall  have  given  fifteen  days'  written
notice of its intention so to discontinue as follows:
   (a)  Such notice shall be served personally on the owner of the prem-
ises affected, or in lieu thereof, to the person, firm,  or  corporation
to whom or which the last preceding bill has been rendered and from whom
or  which  the  utility has received payment therefor, and to the super-
intendent or  other  person  in  charge  of  the  building  or  premises
affected,  if  it  can  be readily ascertained that there is such super-
intendent or other person in charge.
  (b) In lieu of personal delivery to the person  or  persons,  firm  or
corporation specified in (a) above, such notice may be mailed in a post-
paid  wrapper  to  the address of such person or persons, firm or corpo-
ration.

S. 1210                             4

  (c) In addition to the notice prescribed by (a) or (b) above,  fifteen
days'  written  notice  shall  be (i) posted in the public areas of such
multiple dwelling, (ii) mailed to the "Occupant" of each  unit  in  that
multiple  dwelling,  (iii)  mailed  to  the local health officer and the
director  of  the social services district for the political subdivision
in which the multiple dwelling is located, (iv) if the multiple dwelling
is located in a city or a village, mailed to the mayor  thereof,  or  if
there  be  none, to the manager, or, if the multiple dwelling is located
in a town, then mailed to the town supervisor, and  (v)  mailed  to  the
county  executive  of  the  county  in  which  the  multiple dwelling is
located, or if there be none, then to  the  chairman  of  such  county's
legislative  body. Notice required by (iv) and (v) of this paragraph may
be mailed to the persons specified therein or to their respective desig-
nees. The notice required by this paragraph  shall  state  the  intended
date  of discontinuance of service, the amount due for such service, and
the procedure by which any tenant or public agency may make such payment
and thereby avoid discontinuance of service.
  (d) The written notice required by clauses  (iii),  (iv)  and  (v)  of
paragraph  (c)  above shall be repeated not more than four days nor less
than two days prior to such discontinuance.
  1-a. Whenever a notice of intention to discontinue utility service has
been made pursuant to the provisions of  this  section  and  obligations
owed  the  utility have been satisfied, the utility shall notify, in the
same manner as it gave such notice of intention, the  occupant  of  each
unit that the intention to discontinue utility service no longer exists.
  2.  For  the  purposes  of  this  section, the department charged with
enforcing the multiple dwelling law shall  prepare  a  schedule  of  all
multiple  dwellings  within its jurisdiction and shall provide a copy of
such schedule to any water corporation subject to the provisions of this
section. Such schedule shall be revised semi-annually and a revised copy
provided to such corporation. Every county, and  every  municipality  to
which  the multiple dwelling law does not apply, which county or munici-
pality has compiled or hereafter may compile a listing of  all  multiple
dwellings  within  its  jurisdiction  shall  make such listing available
without charge to any water corporation providing service in such county
or municipality.
  3. Any water corporation which willfully  fails  to  comply  with  the
provisions  of this section shall be liable for a penalty of twenty-five
dollars for each occupied unit of the multiple  dwelling  for  each  day
during which service is unlawfully discontinued; provided, however, that
when the only non-compliance with this section is failure to mail notice
to each "Occupant" as required by clause (ii) of paragraph (c) of subdi-
vision one above the penalty shall be twenty-five dollars for each occu-
pied  unit  of  the multiple dwelling to which notice was not mailed for
each day during which service is unlawfully discontinued.  An action  to
recover  a  penalty  under this section may be brought by the counsel to
the commission in any court of competent jurisdiction in this  state  in
the name of the people of the state of New York. Any monies recovered in
such  action  shall  be  paid to the state treasury to the credit of the
general fund.
  4. Any person who willfully interferes with the posting of the  notice
specified in clause (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision one above by any
water  corporation,  willfully  defaces or mutilates any such notice, or
willfully removes the same from the place where it  is  posted  by  such
company  prior  to  the date specified therein for the discontinuance of

S. 1210                             5

service shall be guilty of a violation and, upon  conviction,  shall  be
punished by a fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars.
  5. The commission shall maintain rules and regulations for the payment
by  tenants of utility bills for water service in a multiple dwelling to
which this section applies where the owner of any such  multiple  dwell-
ing,  or  the  person,  firm  or  corporation  to whom or which the last
preceding bill has been rendered or from whom or which the  utility  has
received  payment  therefore, has failed to pay such utility bills. Such
rules and regulations shall (i) provide that utility service may not  be
discontinued  to  any  such  multiple  dwelling  as  long as the tenants
continue to make timely payments in accordance with  established  proce-
dures;  (ii)  include  designation of an office to advise tenants of the
rights and procedures available pursuant to such rules and  regulations;
(iii)  assure  that  tenants shall not be liable for bills more than two
months in arrears; and (iv) require  the  commission  upon  petition  of
twenty-five  percent  of  the  tenants of such multiple dwelling to meet
with representatives of such tenants and  the  owner,  person,  firm  or
corporation  to  whom or which the last preceding bill has been rendered
or from whom or  which  the  utility  has  received  payment  therefore]
NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  OTHER  PROVISION OF LAW, NO PUBLIC UTILITY COMPANY
SHALL DISCONTINUE GAS, ELECTRIC, STEAM OR WATER  SERVICE  TO  AN  ENTIRE
MULTIPLE DWELLING, AS DEFINED IN THE MULTIPLE DWELLING LAW OR THE MULTI-
PLE  RESIDENCE  LAW,  LOCATED  ANYWHERE IN THIS STATE FOR NON-PAYMENT OF
BILLS RENDERED FOR SERVICE.  SUCH COMPANY SHALL HAVE ALL OTHER RIGHTS AS
IN ANY OTHER CASE WHERE MONEY IS OWING INCLUDING, BUT  NOT  LIMITED  TO,
THE RIGHT TO FILE A LIEN AGAINST THE PROPERTY SO AFFECTED.
  S  3.  Paragraph  (a)  of  subdivision  5  of section 32 of the public
service law, as added by chapter 686 of the laws of 2002, is amended  to
read as follows:
  (a)  In  the  event  the  service to a residential customer terminated
pursuant to this section [or the service to a  multiple-family  dwelling
pursuant to section thirty-three of this article] or a two-family dwell-
ing  pursuant  to  section  thirty-four  of this article consists of the
provision of gas or electricity commodity only,  the  utility  providing
distribution  services  to  such customer shall suspend the provision of
such distribution services  and  the  provision  of  any  other  related
services to such customer if:
  (i)  The  utility  providing distribution services to such customer is
notified of the termination in such manner and form  as  the  commission
shall,  by  regulation,  prescribe;  which  notification  shall  include
documentation sufficient to confirm that such termination  was,  in  all
respects,  in  compliance  with this article and that the conditions set
forth in this subdivision have been met;
  (ii) Except in the case of a service to a multiple  dwelling  pursuant
to  section thirty-three of this article, such customer was billed using
a billing system in which all charges for  service  were  present  on  a
single bill;
  (iii)  Such  utility  providing  distribution  services  provided such
services to the customer at the time of the termination;
  (iv) The utility implementing the termination confirms that it is able
to and will take all actions within its control necessary to resume  the
provision  of  electric  or gas commodity to such customer in accordance
with the agreement for  such  service  between  such  utility  and  such
customer,  if  the  customer makes full payment of the amount of arrears
that were the basis for the termination of service;

S. 1210                             6

  (v) The utility implementing the  termination  has  not  assigned  its
right to obtain payment of the arrears to an entity that is not a utili-
ty for purposes of this article; and
  (vi)  Less than one year has elapsed since such termination of commod-
ity service has occurred.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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