Bill Text: NY A10479 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to establishing minimum standards for payment plans for eligible customers; requires the public service commission to set standards for payment plans for certain customers including reasonableness of agreements and timelines for payment; establishes eligibility.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-05-27 - referred to energy [A10479 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A10479-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                      May 27, 2022

        Introduced  by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. Cunningham)
          -- read once and referred to the Committee on Energy

        AN ACT to amend the public service  law,  in  relation  to  establishing
          minimum standards for payment plans for eligible customers

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

     1    Section 1. The public service law is amended by adding a  new  section
     2  66-t to read as follows:
     3    §  66-t.  Minimum  standards  for  payment plans. 1. The commission is
     4  authorized and directed to set standards for payment plans for  eligible
     5  customers set up by utility companies. Such standards shall include:
     6    (a) Whether a payment agreement is reasonable. Reasonableness shall be
     7  determined  by considering the current household income, ability to pay,
     8  payment history including prior defaults on similar agreements, the size
     9  of the bill, the amount of time and the reasons why the  bill  has  been
    10  outstanding,  and  any  special circumstances creating extreme hardships
    11  within the household. The utility company  may  require  the  person  to
    12  confirm  financial  difficulty with an acknowledgment from another state
    13  or local agency;
    14    (b) Requiring each utility company to make available to  its  residen-
    15  tial  customers  for  utility service provided at the customer's primary
    16  residence a payment plan which averages estimated utility costs  over  a
    17  ten-month  or twelve-month period to eliminate, insofar as it is practi-
    18  cable, seasonal fluctuations in utility bills;
    19    (c) Requiring each utility company to permit each customer a period of
    20  not less than twenty-one days from the date the bill was sent to pay  in
    21  full, unless the customer and the utility agree on a different due date.
    22  A  utility  company  shall  not withdraw funds from a customer's account
    23  before the due date in cases where a customer  uses  an  automatic  bill
    24  payment plan unless the customer agrees to a different period;
    25    (d)  In  the  event  a  rate change approved by the commission becomes
    26  effective while a residential customer is enrolled in and in  compliance
    27  with  a  payment  plan,  the effect of the rate change shall be included
    28  ratably over the remainder of the payment plan period. Included with the

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

        A. 10479                            2

     1  first adjusted bill, the utility company shall  provide  notice  to  the
     2  customer  explaining the reason for the change and showing a calculation
     3  of how the utility company arrived at the new monthly payment; and
     4    (e) While enrolled in a residential payment plan a residential custom-
     5  er's  utility  service  may  not  be  terminated  unless the residential
     6  customer violates a rule of the utility company on file with the commis-
     7  sion, disconnection is necessary for reasons of health, safety, or state
     8  or national emergencies, or termination is ordered  by  the  commission.
     9  Payment  plans  shall  be  offered  to  allow a customer to pay past-due
    10  amounts over a period of time, unless the amounts owing relate to  theft
    11  of  service,  tampering,  an  unauthorized use of service, or failure to
    12  abide by the terms of a time-payment plan. The customer shall  make  the
    13  initial  payment within one business day of agreeing to the time-payment
    14  plan.
    15    2. An individual or household shall be determined to be eligible for a
    16  payment plan under this section if such individual or household provides
    17  documentation of eligibility to the  utility  company  for  any  of  the
    18  following programs:
    19    (a) temporary assistance for needy families (family assistance);
    20    (b) safety net assistance (public assistance);
    21    (c) supplemental security income (SSI);
    22    (d) supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP);
    23    (e) low income home energy assistance program;
    24    (f) veteran's disability pension;
    25    (g) veteran's surviving spouse pension;
    26    (h) child health plus;
    27    (i) lifeline;
    28    (j) home energy assistance program (HEAP);
    29    (k) direct vendor or utility guarantee;
    30    (l) temporary assistance to needy families (TANF);
    31    (m) social security disability insurance (SSDI);
    32    (n) emergency rental assistance program (ERAP); and
    33    (o)  any  other  income-based  assistance  program  identified  by the
    34  commission.
    35    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.