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This entry was published on 2022-04-29
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SECTION 73
Compensation to customers experiencing widespread prolonged outages
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 4
§ 73. Compensation to customers experiencing widespread prolonged
outages. 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the event
that a residential utility customer or a small business customer
experiences a widespread prolonged outage lasting at least seventy-two
consecutive hours or more without having been resolved by the utility
company, the utility company shall:

(a) Provide a credit of twenty-five dollars on the balance of such
residential utility customer's account for each subsequent twenty-four
hour period of service outage that occurs for such customers for more
than seventy-two consecutive hours after the occurrence of such
widespread prolonged outage.

(b) Provide reimbursement of any food spoiled due to lack of
refrigeration. Residential utility customers shall provide the utility
company an itemized list of all food spoiled or proof of loss of food
spoiled within fourteen days of the outage. The utility company shall
reimburse the customer within thirty days of the receipt of the itemized
list or proof of loss, provided, however, that if the utility company
has applied for a waiver pursuant to subdivision three of this section,
such utility company shall reimburse the customer within a time period
to be determined by the commission after the commission renders a
decision on the waiver request. The amount of the reimbursement shall
not exceed a total of two hundred thirty-five dollars for customers who
provide an itemized list. The amount of the reimbursement for customers
who provide proof of loss shall not exceed five hundred forty dollars.

(c) Provide reimbursement of prescription medication spoiled due to
lack of refrigeration. Residential utility customers shall provide the
utility company with an itemized list and proof of loss of prescription
medication due to lack of refrigeration within fourteen days of the
outage. The utility company shall reimburse the customer within thirty
days of the receipt of the itemized list and proof of loss of
prescription medication, provided, however, that if the utility company
has applied for a waiver pursuant to subdivision three of this section,
such utility company shall reimburse the customer within a time period
to be determined by the commission after the commission renders a
decision on the waiver request. The amount of the reimbursement shall
total no more than the actual loss of perishable prescription medicine.

(d) Provide reimbursement to small business customers for any food
spoiled due to lack of refrigeration. Small business customers shall
provide the utility company with an itemized list for all food spoiled
and proof of loss within fourteen days of the outage. The utility
company shall reimburse the small business customer within thirty days
of the receipt of the itemized list and proof of loss, provided,
however, that if the utility company has applied for a waiver pursuant
to subdivision three of this section, such utility company shall
reimburse the small business customer within a time period to be
determined by the commission after the commission renders a decision on
the waiver request. The amount of their imbursement shall not exceed
five hundred forty dollars.

2. Any costs incurred by a utility company pursuant to this section
shall not be recoverable from ratepayers.

3. Not later than fourteen calendar days after the occurrence of a
widespread prolonged outage, a utility company may petition the
commission for a waiver of the requirements of this section. The company
shall have the burden of demonstrating that granting the waiver is fair,
reasonable and in the public interest. In determining whether to grant
such waiver, the commission shall consider: (a) whether the company
complied with their submitted emergency response plan pursuant to the
provisions of subdivision twenty-one of section sixty-six of this
article; (b) whether any actions or omissions of the company contributed
to the prolonging of the widespread prolonged outage; (c) the hardships
endured by said company's customers due to the widespread prolonged
outage; (d) the severity of the widespread prolonged outage; (e)
conditions on the ground during the widespread prolonged outage and the
subsequent restoration; (f) balancing of the equities; and (g) any other
criteria the commission deems in the public interest to consider. The
commission shall issue a final decision regarding the grant of the
requested waiver no later than forty-five days after submission of the
petition.

4. The commission shall promulgate procedures, standards,
methodologies and rules necessary to implement the provisions of this
section. Such rules and regulations shall define the terms "widespread
prolonged outage", "small business customer" and "proof of loss".