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General powers of commission in respect to steam heating
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 4-A
§ 80. General powers of commission in respect to steam heating. The
commission shall: 1. Have general supervision of all steam corporations
having authority under any general or special law or under any charter
or franchise to lay down, regulate or maintain pipes, conduits, ducts or
other fixtures in, over or under the streets, highways and public places
of any municipality, for the purpose of furnishing or transmitting steam
for heat or power, and all plants leased or operated by any such

2. Investigate and ascertain, from time to time, the methods employed
by such persons and corporations in manufacturing, distributing and
supplying steam for heat or power and have power to order such
reasonable improvements as will best promote the public interest,
preserve the public health and protecting those using such steam and
those employed in the manufacture and distribution thereof, and have
power to order reasonable improvements and extensions of the pipes,
lines, conduits, ducts and other reasonable devices, apparatus and
property of such corporation.

3. Have power, in its discretion, to prescribe uniform methods of
keeping account, records and books, to be observed by such corporation
in the manufacture, sale and distribution of steam. It may also in its
discretion prescribe, by order, forms of accounts, records and memoranda
to be kept by such persons and corporations. Notice of alterations by
the commission in the required method or form of keeping a system of
accounts shall be given to such persons or corporations by the
commission at least six months before the same shall take effect. Any
other and additional forms of accounts, records and memoranda kept by
such corporation shall be subject to examination by the commission.

4. Examine all persons and corporations under its supervision and keep
informed as to the methods, practices, regulations and property employed
by them in the transaction of their business. The commission shall have
power of its own motion to examine and investigate the plants and
methods employed in manufacturing, delivering and supplying steam and
shall have access through its members or persons employed and authorized
by it to make such examinations and investigations to all parts of the
manufacturing plants owned, used or operated for the manufacture,
transmission, distribution, furnishing or sale of steam for heat or
power by any such person or corporation. Whenever the commission shall
be of the opinion, after hearing had upon its own motion or upon
complaint, that the rates or charges or the acts or regulations of any
such person or corporation, are unjust, unreasonable, unjustly
discriminatory or unduly preferential or in any wise in violation of any
provision of law, the commission shall determine and prescribe in the
manner provided by and subject to the provisions of section eighty-five
of this chapter the just and reasonable rates and charges thereafter to
be enforced for the service to be furnished, and the just and reasonable
acts and regulations to be done and observed; and whenever the
commission shall be of opinion, after hearing had upon its own motion or
upon complaint, that the property, equipment or appliances of any such
person or corporation are unsafe, inefficient or inadequate, the
commission shall determine and prescribe the safe, efficient and
adequate property, equipment and appliances thereafter to be used,
maintained and operated for the security and accommodation of the public
and in compliance with the provisions of law and of their franchises and

5. Require every person and corporation under its supervision and it
shall be the duty of every such person and corporation to file with the
commission an annual report, verified by the oath of the president,
vice-president, treasurer, secretary, general manager or receiver, if
any, thereof, or by the person required to file the same. The
verification shall be made by said officials holding office at the time
of the filing of said report, and if not made upon the knowledge of the
person verifying the same shall set forth the sources of his information
and the grounds of his belief as to any matters not stated to be
verified upon his knowledge. The report shall show in detail:

(a) The amount of its authorized capital stock and the amount thereof
issued and outstanding; (b) the amount of its authorized bonded
indebtedness and the amount of its bonds and other forms of evidence of
indebtedness issued and outstanding; (c) its receipts and expenditures
during the preceding year; (d) the amount paid as dividends upon its
stock and as interest upon its bonds; (e) the name of its officers and
the aggregate amount paid as salaries to them and the amount paid as
wages to its employees; (f) the location of its plant or plants and
system, with a full description of its property and franchises, stating
in detail how each franchise stated to be owned was acquired; (g) such
other facts pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the plant and
system, and the affairs of such person or corporation as may be required
by the commission. Such report shall be in the form, cover the period
and be filed at the time prescribed by the commission. The commission
may from time to time make changes and additions in such forms. When any
such report is defective or believed to be erroneous, the commission
shall notify the person or corporation making such report to amend the
same within a time prescribed by the commission. Any such person or
corporation which shall neglect to make any such report or which shall
fail to correct any such report within the time prescribed by the
commission shall be liable to a penalty of one hundred dollars and an
additional penalty of one hundred dollars for each day after the
prescribed time for which it shall neglect to file and correct the same,
to be sued for in the name of the people of the state of New York. The
amount recovered in any such action shall be paid into the state
treasury and be credited to the general fund. The commission may extend
the time prescribed for cause shown.

6. Have power, either through its members or inspectors or employees
duly authorized by it, to enter in or upon and to inspect the property,
buildings, plants, power houses, ducts, conduits and offices of any such
corporation or person.

7. Have power to examine all accounts, books, contracts, records,
documents and papers of any such person or corporation, and have power,
after a hearing, to prescribe by order all accounts in which particular
outlays and receipts shall be entered, charged or credited. At any such
hearing the burden of proof shall be on the person, corporation or
municipality to establish the correctness of the accounts in which such
outlays and receipts have been entered, and the commission may suspend a
charge or credit pending submission of proof by such person, corporation
or municipality.

8. Have power to compel, by subpoena duces tecum, the production of
any accounts, books, contracts, records, documents, memoranda and
papers. In lieu of requiring production of originals by subpoena duces
tecum the commission or any commissioner may require sworn copies of any
such books, records, contracts, documents and papers, or parts thereof,
to be filed with it. The commission may require of all such
corporations, persons or municipalities, specific answers to questions
upon which the commission may need information, and may also require
such corporations, persons or municipalities to file periodic reports in
the form, covering the period and filed at the time prescribed by the
commission. If such corporation, person or municipality shall fail to
make specific answer to any question or shall fail to make a periodic
report when required by the commission as herein provided within the
time and in the form prescribed by the commission for the making and
filing of any such report or answer, such corporation, person or the
officer of the municipality shall forfeit to the state the sum of one
hundred dollars for each and every day it shall continue to be in
default with respect to such report or answer. Such forfeiture shall be
recovered in an action brought by the commission in the name of the
people of the state of New York. The amount recovered in any such action
shall be paid into the state treasury and be credited to the general

9. Have power in all parts of the state, either as a commission or
through its members or through an officer or employee specially
authorized to conduct an investigation or hearing, to subpoena
witnesses, take testimony and administer oaths to witnesses in any
proceeding or examination instituted before it, or conducted by it in
reference to any matter within its jurisdiction under this article.

10. (a) Have power to require every steam corporation, person or
municipality, hereinafter in this subdivision called a utility, to file
with the commission and to print and keep open to public inspection
schedules showing all rates and charges made, established or enforced or
to be charged or enforced, all forms of contract or agreement and all
rules and regulations relating to rates, charges or service used or to
be used, and all general privileges and facilities granted or allowed by
such utility; but this subdivision shall not apply to state, municipal
or federal contracts.

(b) No change shall be made in any rate or charge, or in any form of
contract or agreement or any rule or regulation relating to any rate,
charge or service, or in any general privilege or facility, which shall
have been filed or published by a utility in compliance with an order of
the commission, except after thirty days' notice to the commission and
to each county, city, town and village served by such utility, which had
filed with such utility, within the prior twelve months, a request for
such notice and which shall be affected by such change and the
publication for thirty days as required by order of the commission,
which shall plainly state the changes proposed to be made and when the
change will go into effect. The commission for good cause shown may,
except in the case of major changes, allow changes to take effect prior
to the end of such thirty-day period and without publication of notice
to the public under such conditions as it may prescribe. The commission
may delegate to the secretary of the commission its authority to approve
a change to a schedule postponing the effective date of such schedule
previously filed with the commission and to allow for good cause shown
the postponement to take effect prior to the end of such thirty-day
period and without publication of notice to the public.

(c) For the purpose of this subdivision, "major changes" shall mean an
increase in the rates and charges which would increase the aggregate
revenues of the applicant more than the greater of three hundred
thousand dollars or two and one-half percent, but shall not include
changes in rates, charges or rentals allowed to go into effect by the
commission or made by the utility pursuant to an order of the commission
after hearings held upon notice to the public.

(d) No utility shall charge, demand, collect or receive a greater or
less or different compensation for any service rendered or to be
rendered than the rates and charges specified in its schedule filed and
in effect; nor shall any utility refund or remit in any manner or by any
device any portion of the rates or charges so specified, nor extend to
any person any form of contract or agreement, or any rule or regulation,
or any privilege or facility, except such as are regularly and uniformly
extended to all persons under like circumstances.

(e) The commission shall have power to prescribe the form of every
such schedule, and from time to time prescribe by order such changes in
the form thereof as may be deemed wise. The commission shall also have
power to establish such rules and regulations to carry into effect this
subdivision as it may deem necessary, and to modify or amend such rules
or regulations from time to time.

(f) Whenever there shall be filed with the commission by any utility
any schedule stating a new rate or charge, or any change in any form of
contract or agreement or any rule or regulation relating to any rate,
charge or service, or in any general privilege or facility, the
commission may, at any time within sixty days from the date when such
schedule would or has become effective, either upon complaint or upon
its own initiative, and, if it so orders, without answer or other formal
pleading by the utility, but upon reasonable notice, hold a hearing
concerning the propriety of a change proposed by the filing. If such
change is a major change, the commission shall hold such a hearing.
Pending such hearing and decision thereon the commission, upon filing
with such schedule and delivering to the utility, a statement in writing
of its reasons therefor, may suspend the operation of such schedule, but
not for a longer period than one hundred and twenty days beyond the time
when it would otherwise go into effect. After full hearing, whether
completed before or after the schedule goes into effect, the commission
may make such order in reference thereto as would be proper in a
proceeding begun after the rate, charge, form of contract or agreement,
rule, regulation, service, general privilege or facility had become
effective. If such hearing cannot be concluded within the period of
suspension as above stated, the commission may extend the suspension for
a further period not exceeding six months.

(g) The commission may, as authorized by section eighty-five of this
article, establish temporary rates or charges for any period of
suspension under this section. At any hearing involving a rate or
charge, the burden of proof to show that the change in rate or charge,
or proposed change in rate or charge if proposed by the utility, or that
the existing rate or charge, if it is proposed to reduce the rate or
charge, is just and reasonable shall be upon the utility; and the
commission may give to the hearing and decision of such questions
preference over all other questions pending before it. The schedule,
rates, charges, form of contract or agreement, rule, regulation,
service, general privilege or facility in force when the new schedule,
rate, charge, form of contract, rule, regulation, service, general
privilege or facility was filed shall continue in force during the
period of the suspension unless the commission shall establish a
temporary rate or charge as authorized by section eighty-five of this

11. In case any steam corporation is engaged in carrying on any
business other than owning, operating or managing a steam plant, which
other business is not otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the
commission, and is so conducted that its operations are to be
substantially kept separate and apart from the owning, operating,
managing or controlling of such steam plant, said corporation in respect
of such other business shall not be subject to any of the provisions of
this chapter and shall not be required to procure the assent or
authorization of the commission to any act in such other business or to
make any report in respect thereof. But this subdivision shall not
restrict or limit the powers of the commission in respect to the owning,
operating, managing or controlling by such corporation of such steam
plant, and said powers shall include also the right to inquire as to,
and prescribe the apportionment of, capitalization, earnings, debts and
expenses fairly and justly to be awarded to or borne by the ownership,
operation, management or control of such steam plant as distinguished
from such other business. In any such case if the owning, operating,
managing or controlling of such steam plant by any such corporation is
wholly subsidiary and incidental to the other business carried on by it
and is inconsiderable in amount and not general in its character, the
commission may by general rules exempt such corporation from making full
reports and from the keeping of accounts as to such subsidiary and
incidental business.

12. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,
whenever a city having a population of one million or more provides for
a deduction from gross receipts of a steam corporation, pursuant to a
local law authorized by the provisions of subdivision (k) of section
twelve hundred one of the tax law, the rate or charge imposed by any
such corporation within such city upon non-residential users of steam
eligible to receive a rebate in accordance with a local law or laws
adopted pursuant to article two-G of the general city law shall be set
by the commission so as to reflect fully the decrease in tax liability
attributable to such deduction.