senate Bill S666

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Requires reporting by the public service commission on consumer protections adopted by electric corporations and municipalities

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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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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to energy and telecommunications
Jan 09, 2013 referred to energy and telecommunications

S666 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง32, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Session:
S5697A

S666 - Bill Texts

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Requires reporting by the public service commission on consumer protections adopted by electric corporations and municipalities; the adequacy of the public service commissions assistance to customers facing disconnection of utility service.

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BILL NUMBER:S666

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the public service law, in relation to requiring reporting by
the public service commission on consumer protections adopted by
electric corporations and municipalities

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

The legislation would require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to
submit to the Governor, Assembly Speaker, and Temporary President of
the Senate, an annual review of existing consumer protection policies
under HEFPA. The legislation requires evaluations of several critical
consumer protection mechanisms. The legislation would create
unprecedented opportunities for actively addressing consumer policy
deficiencies.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

The PSC must submit its first report by November 15th, 2014, and at
least once annually thereafter. The report must include, but is not
limited to, evaluations and information on the following:

a) procedures for notifying customers who are in arrears on their
obligations of how they may avoid termination;

b) effectiveness of the PSC's shutoff hotline, including the call
volume to such hotline in each utility service territory;

c) adequacy of the PSC's assistance to customers negotiating deferred
payment agreements;

d) number of incidences, if any, in which utilities have required more
than the lawfully allowed level of down payments or deferred payments
from customers seeking to connect service or avoid disconnection;
and

e) the monthly number of electric and natural gas customers who
previously received utility bill assistance from the Home Energy
Assistance Program whose service was terminated for bill collection
purposes in each utility service area in the previous calendar year;

The PSC is obligated to collect information from utilities in ways
that preserve customer confidentiality.

JUSTIFICATION:

Between 2005 and 2010, New York utilities have executed over 1.7
million residential utility terminations. New York's unsettling
termination trend strongly suggests that existing consumer protection
policies are failing consumers. This legislation would require the
PSC to periodically evaluate - and improve - consumer protection
policies.


PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.S697-A/A.7778 (Linares) (Difference in dates)
(Passed Assembly)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

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
________________________________________________________________________

                                   666

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  AVELLA -- 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 report-
  ing  by  the public service commission on consumer protections adopted
  by electric corporations and municipalities

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

  Section 1. Section 32 of the public service law is amended by adding a
new subdivision 7 to read as follows:
  7.  THE COMMISSION SHALL, NOT LATER THAN NOVEMBER FIFTEENTH, TWO THOU-
SAND FIFTEEN, AND AT LEAST ONCE  ANNUALLY  THEREAFTER,  PROVIDE  TO  THE
GOVERNOR,  THE  TEMPORARY  PRESIDENT  OF  THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE
ASSEMBLY, THE CHAIR OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY  AND  TELECOMMUNI-
CATIONS  AND  THE  CHAIR  OF  THE  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ENERGY A REPORT
DETAILING CONSUMER PROTECTIONS  ADOPTED  BY  ELECTRIC  CORPORATIONS  AND
MUNICIPALITIES  ("UTILITIES") PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE, AND THE ADEQUACY
OF THE COMMISSION'S ASSISTANCE  TO  CUSTOMERS  FACING  DISCONNECTION  OF
UTILITY  SERVICE.  THE  REPORT  SHALL  INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO AN
ANALYSIS OF:
  (A) THE EFFECTIVENESS OF  CURRENT  UTILITY  PROCEDURES  FOR  NOTIFYING
CUSTOMERS  IN  ARREARS  ON  UTILITY CHARGES OF HOW THEY MAY AVOID TERMI-
NATION OF ELECTRIC, GAS OR STEAM SERVICE, INCLUDING THE AVAILABILITY  OF
DEFERRED PAYMENT AGREEMENTS;
  (B) THE ADEQUACY OF THE COMMISSION'S ASSISTANCE TO CUSTOMERS NEGOTIAT-
ING  DEFERRED PAYMENT AGREEMENTS WITH UTILITIES IN LIEU OF DISCONNECTION
OF SERVICE, INCLUDING THE AMOUNT OF DEFERRED PAYMENT  PLANS  BY  UTILITY
SERVICE TERRITORY;
  (C) THE NUMBER OF INCIDENCES, IF ANY, IN WHICH UTILITIES HAVE REQUIRED
MORE  THAN  THE  LAWFULLY  ALLOWED  LEVEL  OF  DOWN PAYMENTS OR DEFERRED

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03373-01-3

S. 666                              2

PAYMENTS FROM CUSTOMERS SEEKING TO  CONNECT  SERVICE  OR  AVOID  DISCON-
NECTION;
  (D)  THE  EFFECTIVENESS  AND  AVAILABILITY OF THE COMMISSION'S SHUTOFF
HOTLINE IN RECEIVING CALLS FROM CUSTOMERS FACING  TERMINATION  OF  ELEC-
TRIC,  GAS AND STEAM SERVICE AND THE CALL VOLUME TO SUCH HOTLINE IN EACH
UTILITY SERVICE TERRITORY;
  (E) THE MONTHLY NUMBER OF  ELECTRIC  AND  NATURAL  GAS  CUSTOMERS  WHO
PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED UTILITY BILL ASSISTANCE FROM THE HOME ENERGY ASSIST-
ANCE  PROGRAM  WHOSE SERVICE WAS TERMINATED FOR BILL COLLECTION PURPOSES
IN EACH UTILITY SERVICE AREA IN THE  PREVIOUS  CALENDAR  YEAR,  PROVIDED
FURTHER  THAT  THE COMMISSION SHALL REQUIRE EACH UTILITY TO PROVIDE SUCH
INFORMATION WHILE MAINTAINING CUSTOMER CONFIDENTIALITY; AND
  (F) ANY PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE REMEDIES NECESSARY TO  INCREASE  CUSTOMER
AWARENESS OF SUCH HOTLINE.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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