Bill Text: NY A02038 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to complaint handling procedures by the public service commission.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-05-20 - reference changed to corporations, authorities and commissions [A02038 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A02038-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                    January 14, 2021

        Introduced  by M. of A. DINOWITZ, SEAWRIGHT -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection

        AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to complaint  handl-
          ing procedures by the public service commission

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Section 43 of the public service law, as added  by  chapter
     2  713  of  the  laws of 1981, subdivision 3 as added by chapter 686 of the
     3  laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows:
     4    § 43. Complaint handling procedures. 1. The commission shall  maintain
     5  regulations  for  the handling of [residential] all customer complaints,
     6  which at a minimum shall require that each utility or municipality:  (a)
     7  maintain procedures, and provide a copy of those procedures, as amended,
     8  to  the  commission, for prompt investigation of any complaint on a bill
     9  for gas, steam, or electric service rendered or a deposit  required  and
    10  for [prompt] reporting to the complainant [of] within: (i) fifteen busi-
    11  ness  days  after  the result of such investigation for a utility corpo-
    12  ration; or (ii) thirty business days after the result of  such  investi-
    13  gation  for  a  municipality. [If such] Such report [is made orally, the
    14  utility corporation or municipality shall offer the complainant  upon  a
    15  written  request the opportunity to receive the report in writing] shall
    16  be in writing and provide all supporting documentation; (b)  inform  any
    17  complainant  [whose complaint is resolved in favor of the utility corpo-
    18  ration or municipality, in whole or in part,] of the availability of the
    19  commission's complaint handling procedures; (c) refrain from terminating
    20  service for nonpayment so long as a complaint is pending before a utili-
    21  ty, municipality or the commission and for fifteen days  thereafter,  or
    22  for  such  period  as  the  commission  for  good cause shall establish;
    23  provided however, that as a condition of continued  service  during  the
    24  pendency  of  any  such  dispute,  a  customer  shall pay the undisputed
    25  portions of any bill for service including bills for current  usage,  or

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

        A. 2038                             2

     1  such amounts as the commission determines reasonably reflect the cost of
     2  usage  to  such  customer;  and  (d)  refrain from treating the disputed
     3  portion of any bill as late during the pendency of any complaint  before
     4  the  utility  or municipality.  Late payment charges shall not be levied
     5  during the period it takes to resolve disputed amounts.
     6    2. The commission shall maintain regulations  for  complaint  handling
     7  procedures  including  complaints  with  respect to the negotiation of a
     8  deferred payment agreement  which  shall  include,  at  a  minimum:  (a)
     9  provision  for  investigation  and informal review and for appeal to the
    10  commission [in its discretion]; (b) that the  burden  of  proof  in  all
    11  proceedings shall be on the utility corporation or municipality[, except
    12  as  otherwise  provided  by  the  commission  for  good  cause]; and (c)
    13  provision  for  parties  to  receive  a  written  determination  of  any
    14  complaint[,  upon  request,] in plain and simple English, which determi-
    15  nation shall set forth the relevant facts established, the  reasons  for
    16  the  determination,  what  actions must be taken and what further proce-
    17  dures are available to a complainant.
    18    3. The commission shall [use its best efforts to] complete its initial
    19  investigation [and review and to issue]  within:  (a)  fifteen  business
    20  days  for a utility corporation or; (b) thirty business days for a muni-
    21  cipality. The commission shall complete  the  informal  review,  if  the
    22  initial  decision is appealed, within fifteen business days. The commis-
    23  sion shall, within ninety days, issue its final written determination of
    24  any appeal to it pursuant to this section.
    25    4. Failure by any utility corporation or  municipality  to  provide  a
    26  response  as provided by subdivision one of this section, shall invoke a
    27  penalty of: (a) one hundred dollars per business day for  each  business
    28  day  that  exceeds the initial fifteen business day period for a utility
    29  corporation; or (b) twenty-five dollars per business day for each  busi-
    30  ness day that exceeds the initial thirty business day period for a muni-
    31  cipality.
    32    5.  Upon  the  failure  of  the  commission to adhere to the deadlines
    33  provided by subdivision three  of  this  section,  the  complainant  may
    34  commence  a special proceeding against the commission pursuant to subdi-
    35  vision one of section seventy-eight hundred three of the civil  practice
    36  law and rules.  A prevailing complainant shall be entitled to reasonable
    37  attorney's fees and court costs.
    38    §  2.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
    39  have become a  law.  Effective  immediately,  the  addition,  amendment,
    40  and/or  repeal  of  any rules and regulations necessary to implement the
    41  provisions of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed
    42  to be completed on or before such effective date.