senate Bill S7198

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Clarifies the time in which the public service commission must act upon certain petitions

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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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May 05, 2014 referred to energy and telecommunications

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S7198 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3189B
Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง27, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: A6563
2009-2010: A4472

S7198 - Bill Texts

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Clarifies the time in which the public service commission must act upon certain petitions.

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BILL NUMBER:S7198

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to
clarifying the mandatory time within which the public service
commission must act upon petitions submitted by regulated entities and
the citizenry

PURPOSE:

Requires the public service commission ("PSC") to take action on
petitions submitted by citizens and other interested parties in a more
expeditious manner.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 - adds a new subdivision 27 to the Public Service Law to
achieve the following:

(1) requires the PSC to investigate and complete action on any
petition or complaint filed by a utility customer or a group of
customers or certain public officials within 90 days of the filing of
the petition or complaint. A petition alleging an emergency or action
that threatens public health and safety must be handled within 30
days;

(2) requires the PSC to issue an annual report on its handling of
petitions and complaints filed during the reporting year; and

(3) allows an aggrieved party to commence an Art. 78 proceeding
against the PSC for failure to comply with the statutory timeframes.

Section 2 - requires the PSC to complete action on any petition or
complaint filed prior to the effective date within 180 days of the
effective date of this act. The PSC is required to file a report after
the 180 days describing its handling of this backlog of petitions.

Section 3 - sets forth the severability clause.

Section 4 - states that the act shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION:

After a series of public hearings conducted by the Assembly Committee
on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, the Committee discovered
that the PSC has inadequately addressed petitions filed with it; i.e.,
petitions filed by citizens have been open for several years or the
commission has not taken any action on the petition. The PSC defines
open cases as all petitions, complaints and commission, procedures
that require commission action. For example, committee staff, based on
rough data provided by the commission, found the following:

*101 cases filed in 2007 are still open,

*186 cases filed in 2008 are still open,

*326 cases filed in 2009 are still open,


*878 cases filed in 2010 are still open, and

*306 cases filed in 2011 are still open (as of Feb 25).

The PSC has a responsibility to quickly address petitions filed by
customers or other interested groups to make sure the utilities it
regulates operate in the public interest.

This bill would also require the PSC to address its backlog of
petitions, and establishes time frames for the PSC to complete action
on future petitions and complaints.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

A.7624 (2007-2008), passed Assembly;
A.4472 (2009-10), passed Assembly;
A.6563 (2011-2012), passed Assembly.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

To be determined.

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
________________________________________________________________________

                                  7198

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               May 5, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  RANZENHOFER -- read twice and ordered printed, and
  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommu-
  nications

AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation  to  clarifying  the
  mandatory  time  within  which  the public service commission must act
  upon petitions submitted by regulated entities and the citizenry

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

  Section  1.  The public service law is amended by adding a new section
27 to read as follows:
  S 27. PETITIONS; TIME PERIOD FOR  ACTION  TO  BE  TAKEN.  1.  FOR  THE
PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM:
  (A)  "CUSTOMER" SHALL MEAN A CUSTOMER OR CONSUMER OF A UTILITY SERVICE
THAT IS REGULATED PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER, WHO SHALL BE EITHER AN INDI-
VIDUAL; A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS; THE MAYOR OF A CITY; THE TRUSTEES  OF  A
VILLAGE;  THE TOWN BOARD OF A TOWN; OR THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICE OR THE
LEGISLATIVE BODY OF A COUNTY. FOR  THE  PURPOSES  OF  THIS  SUBDIVISION,
"CUSTOMER"  SHALL  INCLUDE  THE  DIVISION  OF CONSUMER PROTECTION OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
  (B) "PETITION" SHALL MEAN ANY PETITION  OR  COMPLAINT  FILED  WITH  OR
SUBMITTED  TO  THE  COMMISSION  PURSUANT  TO THIS CHAPTER BY A CUSTOMER,
ALLEGING OR RELATING TO:
  (I) THE FAILURE OR OMITTING TO DO ANYTHING REQUIRED OF A PUBLIC UTILI-
TY COMPANY BY ANY PROVISION OF THIS CHAPTER, OR BY ANY REGULATIONS OR AN
ORDER OF THE COMMISSION;
  (II) ANY ACTIONS TAKEN BY A  PUBLIC  UTILITY  COMPANY,  ITS  OFFICERS,
EMPLOYEES  OR  AGENTS  THAT  ARE  CONTRARY  TO  OR  IN  VIOLATION OF THE
PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER; THE REGULATIONS OR AN ORDER OF  THE  COMMIS-
SION;  OR  THE  TERMS  OR  CONDITIONS OF THE FRANCHISE OR CHARTER OF THE
PUBLIC UTILITY COMPANY;
  (III) RATE CHARGES OR CLASSIFICATION OF SERVICE; OR
  (IV) THE ADEQUACY, EFFICIENCY OR RELIABILITY OF SERVICE.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD07407-04-4

S. 7198                             2

  SUCH TERM SHALL NOT MEAN OR INCLUDE ANY PETITION FILED OR SUBMITTED BY
A PUBLIC  UTILITY  CORPORATION  OR  ANY  CORPORATION  THAT  PROVIDES  OR
SUPPLIES UTILITY SERVICES PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER.
  2.  (A)  NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  PROVISION  OF  LAW TO THE CONTRARY, AND
EXCEPT WHERE A SHORTER TIME PERIOD IS REQUIRED PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER,
THE COMMISSION SHALL COMPLETE ITS INVESTIGATION  AND  ISSUE  A  DETERMI-
NATION  OR  DECISION  WITH RESPECT TO ANY PETITION WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF
THE FILING OR SUBMISSION OF THE PETITION.
  (B) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF PARAGRAPH (A)  OF  THIS  SUBDIVI-
SION,  IF  THE  PETITION  ALLEGES AN EMERGENCY OR SOME OTHER ACTION THAT
THREATENS OR IMPACTS THE HEALTH OR SAFETY OF ANY PERSON OR THE SURROUND-
ING AREA, THE COMMISSION SHALL MAKE A DETERMINATION AS SOON AS  POSSIBLE
BUT  IN  NO EVENT MORE THAN THIRTY DAYS FROM THE DATE WHEN SUCH PETITION
WAS FILED OR SUBMITTED.
  (C) IF THE COMMISSION IS UNABLE TO MEET THE TIME LIMITATIONS SET FORTH
IN THIS SUBDIVISION, THE COMMISSION SHALL PREPARE AND SEND TO THE  PETI-
TIONER  OR  COMPLAINANT  A  WRITTEN DOCUMENT STATING THE REASONS FOR THE
FAILURE OR INABILITY OF THE COMMISSION TO COMPLY WITH THE  TIME  FRAMES,
AND  THE  DATE  WHEN  A  DETERMINATION  WILL  BE  MADE,  EXCEPT THAT THE
PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL NOT APPLY TO PETITIONS  DESCRIBED  IN
PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
  (D)  NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  PROVISION  OF  THIS SUBDIVISION AND OF THIS
CHAPTER TO THE CONTRARY, IF THE PETITIONER OR  COMPLAINANT  REQUESTS  AN
OPPORTUNITY  TO  BE HEARD ON THE PETITION, THE COMMISSION SHALL COMMENCE
THE HEARING WITHIN TEN BUSINESS DAYS OF THE REQUEST AND SHALL  MAKE  ITS
DETERMINATION  WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE LAST DAY OF THE HEARING. IF THE
COMMISSION DIRECTS THAT A HEARING BE  CONDUCTED  ON  THE  PETITION,  THE
DECISION TO CONDUCT SUCH HEARING SHALL BE MADE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE
INITIAL FILING OF THE PETITION, AND THE HEARING SHALL BE COMPLETED AND A
DECISION  THEREON ISSUED WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF THE INITIAL FILING OF THE
PETITION.
  3. ON OR BEFORE FEBRUARY FIFTEENTH OF EACH YEAR, THE COMMISSION  SHALL
SUBMIT A REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, THE TEMPO-
RARY  PRESIDENT  OF  THE  SENATE  AND  THE CHAIRS OF SENATE AND ASSEMBLY
COMMITTEES ON CORPORATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS SETTING FORTH:
  (A) THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PETITIONS FILED OR SUBMITTED WITH THE  COMMIS-
SION IN THE PREVIOUS CALENDAR YEAR;
  (B) A BREAKDOWN OF SUCH PETITIONS BY UTILITY AND SUBJECT MATTER OF THE
PETITION;
  (C)  THE  NUMBER  OF  SUCH  PETITIONS  UPHELD,  DISMISSED OR OTHERWISE
RESOLVED, BROKEN DOWN BY UTILITY AND SUBJECT MATTER;
  (D) THE NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF PETITIONS THAT WERE UPHELD, DISMISSED
OR RESOLVED WITHIN THE STATUTORY TIME FRAME; AND
  (E) IF APPLICABLE, THE NUMBER OF PETITIONS THAT WERE NOT COMPLETED  OR
RESOLVED  WITHIN  THE  STATUTORY TIME FRAMES, THE REASONS FOR FAILURE TO
MEET THE TIME FRAMES, AND THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME FOR SUCH  PETITIONS
TO BE FINALLY COMPLETED OR RESOLVED.
  4.  IF THE COMMISSION FAILS TO MEET OR COMPLY WITH THE TIME FRAMES SET
FORTH IN THIS SUBDIVISION, THE PETITIONER OR COMPLAINANT MAY COMMENCE  A
SPECIAL PROCEEDING AGAINST THE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF
SECTION SEVENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED THREE OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES.
A  PREVAILING  PETITIONER OR COMPLAINANT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REASONABLE
ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COURT COSTS.
  S 2. On or before the one hundred eightieth day  after  the  effective
date  of  this act, the public service commission shall make or render a
determination on any petition  or  complaint  that  was  filed  with  or

S. 7198                             3

submitted to such commission prior to the effective date of this act. As
soon  as  reasonably  possible  after the end of the 180 day period, the
public service commission shall issue a  report  to  the  governor,  the
speaker  of  the assembly, the temporary president of the senate and the
chairs of the senate and assembly standing committees  on  corporations,
authorities  and  commissions  stating  the total number of petitions or
complaints involved; the number of petitions or complaints dismissed  or
resolved;  and if such commission is unable to meet this time frame, the
reasons for the delay or inaction.
  S 3. Severability. If any provision of this act or its application  to
any  person  or  circumstance  is held invalid, this invalidity does not
affect other provisions or applications of this act that  can  be  given
effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the
provisions of this act are declared to be severable.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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