Bill Text: NY A09035 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes an eight member legislative commission on the future of the Long Island Power Authority to investigate and evaluate the establishment of a public power model for the operation of LIPA, whereby the authority would directly operate the utility as a true public power authority; makes related provisions.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 9-4)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-01-21 - referred to governmental operations [A09035 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A09035-Introduced.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                          9035

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                    January 21, 2022
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by M. of A. THIELE, ENGLEBRIGHT -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Governmental Operations

        AN ACT to amend the legislative  law,  in  relation  to  establishing  a
          legislative commission on the future of the Long Island Power Authori-
          ty

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

     1    Section 1. The legislative law is amended by adding a new section 83-n
     2  to read as follows:
     3    § 83-n. Legislative commission on the future of the Long Island  Power
     4  Authority. 1. The legislature hereby finds and declares that chapter 517
     5  of the laws of 1986 created the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). Said
     6  authority  was  created,  in  part,  because the decisions by LILCO, the
     7  private utility that provided electricity to Long  Island  and  part  of
     8  Queens,  "to  commence  construction of the Shoreham nuclear power plant
     9  and thereafter to continue such construction were  imprudent".  Further,
    10  the  legislature  found in chapter 517 of the laws of 1986 that "a situ-
    11  ation threatening the economy, health and safety exists in  the  service
    12  area". One of the two express purposes of the act was the closure of the
    13  Shoreham  nuclear power plant. In 1992, LIPA bought the Shoreham nuclear
    14  power plant. The plant was fully decommissioned in 1994.
    15    The second purpose of such chapter 517 was to  replace  LILCO  with  a
    16  publicly  owned  power authority. The legislature found that "There is a
    17  lack of confidence that the needs of the residents and of  commerce  and
    18  industry  in the service area for electricity can be supplied in a reli-
    19  able, efficient and economic manner by the Long Island lighting  company
    20  (hereinafter referred to as "LILCO")" and "Such matters of state concern
    21  best  can  be dealt with by replacing such investor owned utility with a
    22  publicly owned power authority."
    23    In 1995, LIPA replaced LILCO as the electric company for  its  service
    24  area.  However,  LIPA  was  never  established as a true "publicly owned
    25  power authority" as originally  envisioned  by  the  State  Legislature.
    26  Rather,  since  1995,  LIPA has opted for a third-party management model

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD13601-08-1

        A. 9035                             2

     1  whereby LIPA contracts its responsibility to manage  the  utility  to  a
     2  private, investor owned utility company.
     3    LIPA is the only utility in the nation that is operated under a third-
     4  party  management model. This model has repeatedly failed its customers.
     5  There has been a lack of transparency,  oversight,  and  accountability.
     6  This  failure  has  been most dramatically evidenced in the unacceptable
     7  storm response by LIPA and its third-party contractors during Superstorm
     8  Sandy in 2012 and Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020.
     9    After more than 25 years of unsatisfactory management under the third-
    10  party management model, a better alternative must be  implemented.  That
    11  inquiry must begin with the original intent of chapter 517, whereby LIPA
    12  was  to  directly  manage and operate the utility as a true public power
    13  utility.  Initial investigations by LIPA after Tropical Storm Isaias  in
    14  2020-2021  indicate that both ratepayer savings and increased management
    15  efficiencies could be achieved through the public power model.
    16    Consequently, it is the purpose  of  this  section  to  implement  the
    17  original vision for LIPA intended by chapter 517 of the laws of 1986, as
    18  a  publicly  owned  power  company.    The  legislature hereby creates a
    19  commission to provide the legislature with the specific actions,  legis-
    20  lation,  and timeline necessary to restructure LIPA into a true publicly
    21  owned power authority. The public must participate in  that  process  so
    22  that the new LIPA becomes transparent with proper oversight and account-
    23  ability. The legislative commission shall submit its final report to the
    24  legislature no later than April first, two thousand twenty-three.
    25    2.  A  legislative commission is hereby established to investigate and
    26  report to the legislature on the establishment of a public  power  model
    27  for  the operation of LIPA, whereby the authority would directly operate
    28  the utility as a true  public  power  authority.  The  commission  shall
    29  report  to  the  legislature  on  the specific actions, legislation, and
    30  timeline necessary to restructure LIPA into a true publicly owned  power
    31  authority.   The commission shall consider: (a) the method of governance
    32  of the public authority; (b) improved transparency, accountability,  and
    33  public  involvement;  (c)  improved  reliability  of the system; (d) the
    34  impact on electric rates; (e) improved storm response;  (f)  the  powers
    35  required  by LIPA to more effectively operate the utility; (g) the over-
    36  sight role of the department of public service and  the  public  service
    37  commission  over  LIPA's  operation;  (h)  the impact on existing bonded
    38  indebtedness; (i) improved long term  energy  planning;  (j)  compliance
    39  with  the  goals  of the New York state climate leadership and community
    40  protection act; (k) increased reliance on renewable  energy  sources  to
    41  produce electricity; (l) taxation and payments in lieu of taxes; (m) the
    42  special  needs  of  communities  that  are  or have been impacted by the
    43  siting of power generating facilities; and (n) any other matter relevant
    44  to the establishment of a public power model for the operation of  LIPA.
    45  In  its  report to the legislature, the commission shall provide for the
    46  implementation of the public power model by LIPA no later than  December
    47  thirty-first, two thousand twenty-five.
    48    3.  The  commission  shall consist of eight members to be appointed as
    49  follows: three members of the senate shall be appointed by the temporary
    50  president of  the  senate;  three  members  of  the  assembly  shall  be
    51  appointed by the speaker of the assembly; one member of the senate shall
    52  be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; and one member of the
    53  assembly shall be appointed by the minority leader of the assembly.  Any
    54  vacancy that occurs in the commission shall be filled in the same manner
    55  in  which the original appointment was made. Co-chairs of the commission
    56  shall be designated by the temporary president of  the  senate  and  the

        A. 9035                             3

     1  speaker  of  the assembly, respectively. No member, officer, or employee
     2  of the commission shall be disqualified from holding  any  other  public
     3  office  or  employment,  nor  shall he or she forfeit any such office or
     4  employment  by reason of his or her appointment hereunder, notwithstand-
     5  ing the provisions of any general, special, or local law, ordinance,  or
     6  city charter.
     7    4.  The  commission  shall establish an advisory committee to actively
     8  assist and advise the commission in the preparation of the public  power
     9  report  required  to be prepared pursuant to this section. The committee
    10  shall consist of not more than fifteen members which shall  include  but
    11  not  be  limited  to  representatives  of organizations and institutions
    12  representing business,  labor,  local  government,  Indian  nations  and
    13  tribes,  economic  development,  environmental,  energy, social justice,
    14  consumer, civic, school districts or  higher  education  interests.  The
    15  committee  by  a majority vote shall elect a chairperson. The commission
    16  shall meet periodically with  the  advisory  committee,  make  available
    17  working  draft  and  other  documents, and shall provide services to the
    18  advisory committee as are necessary and appropriate  to  carry  out  its
    19  functions under this section. Members of the advisory committee shall be
    20  residents of the service area.
    21    5.  The commission may employ and at pleasure remove such personnel as
    22  it may deem necessary for the performance of the commission's  functions
    23  and  fix their compensation within the amount appropriated therefor. The
    24  commission may hold public and private hearings and otherwise  have  all
    25  of the powers of a legislative committee under this chapter. The members
    26  of  the  commission  shall  receive  no compensation for their services,
    27  except as provided pursuant to section five-a of this chapter, but shall
    28  be allowed their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the  perform-
    29  ance of their duties hereunder.
    30    6.  Employees of the commission shall be considered to be employees of
    31  the legislature for all purposes.
    32    7. The commission may request and shall receive from any  subdivision,
    33  department,  board,  bureau, commission, office, agency or other instru-
    34  mentality of the state or of any political subdivision thereof,  includ-
    35  ing  but  not limited to the department of public service and the public
    36  service commission, such facilities, assistance and  data  as  it  deems
    37  necessary  or  desirable  for  the  proper  execution  of its powers and
    38  duties. The office of the state  comptroller  may,  at  its  discretion,
    39  provide  to  the commission such facilities, assistance, and data as may
    40  be requested by the commission.
    41    8. The commission is hereby authorized and empowered to make and  sign
    42  any  agreements,  and  to do and perform any acts that may be necessary,
    43  desirable or proper to carry out the purposes and objectives  set  forth
    44  in this section.
    45    9. The commission shall hold at least one public hearing with a public
    46  comment  period  in  each of the counties comprising the service area of
    47  the Long Island Power Authority on the establishment of public power  by
    48  September  thirtieth, two thousand twenty-two and before issuing a draft
    49  report.
    50    10. No later than December thirty-first, two thousand twenty-two,  the
    51  commission  shall issue a draft report to the members of the legislature
    52  regarding the establishment of a public power model for the Long  Island
    53  Power  Authority.  The commission shall hold at least one public hearing
    54  with a public comment period in each  of  the  counties  comprising  the
    55  service  area  of the Long Island Power Authority on the draft report no

        A. 9035                             4

     1  later than February fifteenth,  two  thousand  twenty-three  and  before
     2  issuing a final report.
     3    11. No later than February first, two thousand twenty-three, the comp-
     4  troller  shall  have the discretion to review the draft report and issue
     5  to  the  legislature  any  recommendations  relative  to  the   findings
     6  contained  in  the  draft report which relates to the establishment of a
     7  public power model for the Long Island Power Authority.
     8    12. No later than April first, two thousand twenty-three, the  commis-
     9  sion  shall  issue  a  final  report  to  the members of the legislature
    10  regarding the establishment of a public power model for the Long  Island
    11  Power  Authority.  Such report shall provide any legislation required to
    12  implement the public power model.
    13    § 2. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    14  sion, section or part of this act shall be  adjudged  by  any  court  of
    15  competent  jurisdiction  to  be invalid, such judgment shall not affect,
    16  impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall  be  confined  in
    17  its  operation  to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section
    18  or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judg-
    19  ment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of
    20  the legislature that this act would  have  been  enacted  even  if  such
    21  invalid provisions had not been included herein.
    22    §  3.  This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that
    23  the amendments to article 5-A of the legislative law made by section one
    24  of this act shall survive the repeal of  such  article  as  provided  in
    25  section 13 of chapter 141 of the laws of 1994, as amended.
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