senate Bill S4449

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Requires public utilities to issue standardized bills to residential customers

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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 08, 2014 referred to energy and telecommunications
Apr 01, 2013 referred to energy and telecommunications

S4449 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§44 & 224-b, add §92-g, Pub Serv L

S4449 - Bill Texts

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Requires providers of electric, gas, steam, telephone and cable television services to issue standardized bills to residential customers; provides the standards for such bills shall be established by the public service commission.

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BILL NUMBER:S4449

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to
requiring providers of electric, gas, steam, telephone and cable
television service to use a uniform format, and uniform terminologies
and definitions in bills for residential service; and providing for
the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

Requires public and private utility companies to issue standardized
bills to residential customers

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Short title

Section 2: Amends the Public Service Law to make utility companies
issue uniform bill forms and use universal terminology and definitions
decided upon by the commission.

Section 3: Adds section 92-g to the Public Service Law which makes
telephone companies issue uniform bill forms and use universal
terminology and definitions decided upon by the commission.

Section 4: Amends the Public Service Law to make television and cable
companies issue uniform bill forms and use universal terminology and
definitions decided upon by the commission.

JUSTIFICATION:

Telephone and utility bills are often confusing, especially for the
elderly and those with disabilities. By creating uniform terminology
for billing statements across all utility companies that provide the
same service. This will make it much easier to understand what
consumers are being charged and easier to compare bills between
companies.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

New Bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None to the state

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the 180th day after this act shall have
become law.

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

                                  4449

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              April 1, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  LIBOUS -- 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 requiring provid-
  ers of electric, gas, steam, telephone and cable television service to
  use  a  uniform  format,  and uniform terminologies and definitions in
  bills for residential service; and providing for the  repeal  of  such
  provisions upon the expiration thereof

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

  Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
the "uniform utility consumer comparison act".
  S  2.  Subdivision 1 of section 44 of the public service law, as added
by chapter 713 of the laws of 1981, is amended to read as follows:
  1. Every utility corporation or municipality shall assure  that  bills
for  service to residential customers adequately explain the charges for
service in clear and understandable form and language. FURTHERMORE, SUCH
BILLS SHALL UTILIZE THE FORMAT, TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS  ESTABLISHED
THEREFOR  BY  THE  COMMISSION.  The commission [may] SHALL, from time to
time, specify [the] A UNIFORM form and content [of] FOR  such  bills  to
further  the objectives of this subdivision. SUCH FORM AND CONTENT SHALL
REQUIRE THE USE OF SPECIFIC TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS.
  S 3.  The public service law is amended by adding a new  section  92-g
to read as follows:
  S  92-G.  UNIFORMITY IN RESIDENTIAL BILLS. 1. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS
SECTION, "PROVIDER OF TELEPHONE SERVICES" MEANS A TELEPHONE  CORPORATION
THAT  PROVIDES INTRASTATE INTER-LATA, INTRA-LATA OR LOCAL EXCHANGE TELE-
PHONE SERVICE TO END-USE CUSTOMERS.
  2. EVERY PROVIDER OF TELEPHONE SERVICES SHALL ASSURE  THAT  BILLS  FOR
TELEPHONE SERVICE TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS ADEQUATELY EXPLAIN THE CHARG-
ES  FOR  SERVICE  AND ALL OTHER CHARGES IN CLEAR AND UNDERSTANDABLE FORM

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10036-03-3

S. 4449                             2

AND LANGUAGE. FURTHERMORE, SUCH BILLS SHALL UTILIZE THE  FORMAT,  TERMI-
NOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS ESTABLISHED THEREFOR BY THE COMMISSION.
  3. THE COMMISSION SHALL ESTABLISH A UNIFORM FORMAT FOR BILLS ISSUED TO
RESIDENTIAL  CUSTOMERS  BY  PROVIDERS OF TELEPHONE SERVICES. SUCH FORMAT
SHALL REQUIRE THE USE OF SPECIFIC TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS.
  S 4. Section 224-b of the public service law, as added by chapter  359
of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows:
  S  224-b.  Cable bills. 1. At the time service is initiated to a resi-
dential customer and at least once a year  thereafter,  every  telephone
corporation,  as defined in subdivision seventeen of section two of this
chapter, and every cable television company, as defined in  section  two
hundred  twelve of this article that provides cable service to customers
in New York shall provide its  customers  with  a  notice  that  billing
statements  are  available in a large print format. Upon written request
by a customer, every telephone corporation and cable television  company
shall provide the customer's billing statements in large print format no
later  than sixty days after the date upon which the request is received
by  the  telephone  corporation  and  cable  television   company.   The
provisions  of  this section shall apply only to printed statements. For
the purposes of this section, "large print" means a font size of sixteen
or larger to illuminate billing information.
  2. EVERY TELEPHONE CORPORATION  AND  CABLE  TELEVISION  COMPANY  SHALL
ASSURE  THAT BILLS FOR CABLE SERVICE TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS ADEQUATELY
EXPLAIN THE CHARGES FOR SERVICE AND  ALL  OTHER  CHARGES  IN  CLEAR  AND
UNDERSTANDABLE FORM AND LANGUAGE.  FURTHERMORE, SUCH BILLS SHALL UTILIZE
THE  FORMAT,  TERMINOLOGY  AND  DEFINITIONS  ESTABLISHED THEREFOR BY THE
COMMISSION.
  3. THE COMMISSION SHALL ESTABLISH A UNIFORM FORMAT FOR BILLS ISSUED TO
RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS FOR CABLE SERVICE. SUCH FORMAT SHALL  REQUIRE  THE
USE OF SPECIFIC TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS.
  S  5.  This  act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be
deemed repealed 5 years after it shall take effect, except that  section
two  of  this  act,  subdivision 2 of section 92-g of the public service
law, as added by section three of this act, and subdivision 2 of section
224-b of the public service law, as added by section four of  this  act,
shall  take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after this act shall
have become a law.

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