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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Adequate service; just and reasonable charges; unjust discrimination and unreasonable preference
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 4-A
§ 79. Adequate service; just and reasonable charges; unjust
discrimination and unreasonable preference. 1. Every steam corporation
shall furnish and provide such service, instrumentalities and facilities
as shall be safe and adequate and in all respects just and reasonable.
All charges made or demanded by any such corporation for such service
rendered or to be rendered shall be just and reasonable and not more
than allowed by order of the commission. Every unjust or unreasonable
charge made or demanded for such service, or in connection therewith or
in excess of that allowed by law or by the commission is prohibited.

2. No such corporation shall directly or indirectly by any special
rate, rebate, drawback or other device or method, charge, demand,
collect or receive from any person or corporation a greater or less
compensation for such service rendered or to be rendered or in
connection therewith, except as authorized in this chapter, than it
charges, demands, collects or receives from any other person or
corporation for doing a like and contemporaneous service with respect
thereto under the same or substantially similar circumstances or

3. No such corporation shall make or grant any undue or unreasonable
preference or advantage to any person, corporation or locality, or to
any particular description of service in any respect whatsoever, or
subject any particular person, corporation or locality or any particular
description of service to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or
disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.

4. Nothing in this chapter shall be taken to prohibit any such
corporation from establishing a sliding scale for a fixed period for the
automatic adjustment of charges for such service or any service rendered
or to be rendered and the dividends to be paid to stockholders of such
corporation, provided that the sliding scale shall first have been filed
with and approved by the commission; but nothing in this subdivision
shall operate to prevent the commission after the expiration of such
fixed period from fixing proper, just and reasonable rates and charges
to be made for services as authorized in this article.

5. (a) Every steam corporation furnishing service may initiate a civil
action to collect a civil penalty against a user of non-residential
service in accordance with this subdivision. Upon a showing in such
action that a user of non-residential service has knowingly accepted or
received the use and benefit of such service which has been prevented
from being properly registered by a meter provided therefor, the
corporation may be granted a civil penalty, in addition to the value of
the unpaid service, in an amount which the court in its discretion shall
deem to be just and reasonable, which in no event shall be more than
three times the retail value of the steam service accepted or received.
In any action under this subdivision, proof that a meter has been
intentionally prevented from properly registering steam service shall be
prima facie proof that the user of non-residential service who accepts
or receives the use and benefit of such service has done so with
knowledge of the condition so existing, if the steam corporation shall
first present evidence that such person took possession of the
benefitted premises and used the service prior to the creation of the

(b) For the purposes of this subdivision, a user of non-residential
service shall be a person benefitting from such service who is in
possession of the premises to which the service is delivered.

(c) Any civil penalty recovered pursuant to this section in excess of
the actual damages sustained by the corporation shall be taken into
account by the public service commission in establishing future steam