Bill Text: NY A10480 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to requiring the establishment of automatic payment plans; requires investor owned combination utility companies headquartered in New York to establish a statewide program to provide eligible participants with affordability payment plans.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-05-27 - referred to energy [A10480 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A10480-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  requiring  the
          establishment of automatic payment plans

          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. Utility automatic payment plans. 1.  Within one hundred eighty
     4  days  of  the  effective date of this section, notwithstanding any other
     5  provision of law, the commission is authorized and directed  to  require
     6  investor  owned  combination utility companies headquartered in New York
     7  to establish a statewide program to provide eligible  participants  with
     8  affordability  payment  plans. Investor owned combination utility compa-
     9  nies shall automatically provide appropriate payment plans to qualifying
    10  low income individuals who provide documentation  of  their  eligibility
    11  status.    The  fiscal  impact  of  such a program shall not be borne by
    12  customers and shall not be added to bills rendered by the investor owned
    13  combination utility company to customers. Enrollment shall be  available
    14  at any time during the year. For the purposes of this section, "combina-
    15  tion  utility  company" shall mean a utility company that provides elec-
    16  tric, gas, or steam service.
    17    2. (a) The commission shall engage  with  investor  owned  combination
    18  utility  companies  to establish automated file matching mechanisms that
    19  will provide, via electronic means, investor owned  combination  utility
    20  companies with a list of eligible participants within the utility compa-
    21  ny's service territory. The commission shall provide such information to
    22  such  utility  companies  no  less than semi-annually. An investor owned
    23  combination utility company which offers such  a  payment  plan  program
    24  shall  conspicuously  advertise  the  availability  of  such plan on the
    25  website of such utility company.
    26    (b) The commission shall also create a mechanism by which an  individ-
    27  ual's  documentation  is  submitted and reasonably and promptly reviewed
    28  for qualification as proper documentation of the individual's  eligibil-

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

        A. 10480                            2

     1  ity  status. Such mechanism shall also provide for electronic submission
     2  of documentation.
     3    3. An individual or household shall be determined to be eligible for a
     4  payment  plan  if such individual or household provides documentation of
     5  eligibility for any of the following programs:
     6    (a) temporary assistance for needy families (family assistance);
     7    (b) safety net assistance (public assistance);
     8    (c) supplemental security income (SSI);
     9    (d) supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP);
    10    (e) low income home energy assistance program;
    11    (f) veteran's disability pension;
    12    (g) veteran's surviving spouse pension;
    13    (h) child health plus;
    14    (i) lifeline;
    15    (j) home energy assistance program (HEAP);
    16    (k) direct vendor or utility guarantee;
    17    (l) temporary assistance to needy families (TANF);
    18    (m) social security disability insurance (SSDI);
    19    (n) emergency rental assistance program (ERAP); and
    20    (o) any  other  income-based  assistance  program  identified  by  the
    21  commission.
    22    4. (a) When devising payment plans, the utility company shall consider
    23  the circumstances and financial condition of the customer including:
    24    (i) The amount due, if any, on the account;
    25    (ii) The customer's ability to pay;
    26    (iii) The customer's payment history;
    27    (iv) The anticipated energy assistance benefits for which the customer
    28  may be eligible;
    29    (v) The circumstances which resulted in the past due bills;
    30    (vi)  Hardships  which  may result from the lack of utility service to
    31  the customer; and
    32    (vii) Any other relevant factors related to the circumstances  of  the
    33  customer.
    34    (b)  An  investor-owned  combination utility company shall permit each
    35  customer a period of not less than twenty-one days  from  the  date  the
    36  bill  was sent to pay in full, unless the customer and the utility agree
    37  on a different due date. A utility  shall  not  withdraw  funds  from  a
    38  customer's account before the due date in cases where a customer uses an
    39  automatic  bill  payment  plan unless the customer agrees to a different
    40  period.
    41    5. The attorney general may bring a civil action against any  investor
    42  owned  combination utility companies that violate this section to enjoin
    43  such violation and may recover a civil penalty  of  up  to  one  hundred
    44  dollars  per  violation of this section or, for a pattern or practice of
    45  such violations, of up  to  one  thousand  dollars  per  violation.    A
    46  violation shall be judged per individual account.
    47    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.