Bill Text: NY S00086 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Directs the public service commission to require electric and steam corporations to provide rate reductions or refunds for inadequate or interrupted service; requires electric corporations to reimburse ratepayers for damages to and losses of property and business caused by power outages in certain instances.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-06 - REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS [S00086 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-S00086-Introduced.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                           86

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                       (Prefiled)

                                     January 6, 2021
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by Sen. GIANARIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on  Energy  and  Telecommuni-
          cations

        AN  ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to the power of the
          public service commission to require refunds of or reductions in rates
          for inadequate or interrupted electric or steam service

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

     1    Section  1. Subdivision 20 of section 66 of the public service law, as
     2  added by chapter 394 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows:
     3    20. (a) Notwithstanding any general or  special  law,  rule  or  regu-
     4  lation, the commission shall have the power to provide for the refund of
     5  any revenues received by any gas or electric corporation which cause the
     6  corporation  to  have revenues in the aggregate in excess of its author-
     7  ized rate of return for a period of twelve months.  The  commission  may
     8  initiate a proceeding with respect to such a refund after the conclusion
     9  of any such twelve month period.
    10    (b)  Notwithstanding  any  general or special law, rule or regulation,
    11  the  commission  shall  impose  prompt,  meaningful  rate   refunds   or
    12  reductions  in instances where electric corporations fail to meet objec-
    13  tively measured service quality standards. Such  refunds  or  reductions
    14  shall at a minimum equal five percent of the amount billed to a customer
    15  for  the  provision of electric service for a period of twelve months or
    16  such longer period as the commission may prescribe;  provided,  however,
    17  that  the commission may prescribe a schedule setting forth both minimum
    18  and  maximum  amounts  that  a  customer  may  receive  in  refunds   or
    19  reductions.
    20    (c)  In  addition  to the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this
    21  subdivision, in every instance where electric service is interrupted due
    22  to a local distribution system failure lasting for twelve hours or  more

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD03273-01-1

        S. 86                               2

     1  within  a twenty-four hour period, the commission shall require an elec-
     2  tric corporation that distributes electricity in a city of  one  million
     3  or  more to (1) reimburse customers for damages to or losses of property
     4  including,  but  not  limited  to perishable food items and medications,
     5  electrical equipment, computer equipment,  air  conditioning  equipment,
     6  and other electronic equipment and instruments used by commercial estab-
     7  lishments  or  residences;  and  (2) provide appropriate compensation to
     8  those commercial customers who have lost business as  a  result  of  the
     9  service  interruption. Such compensation shall be based upon the average
    10  revenues earned by the business in similar time periods, or, for  a  new
    11  business,  the  average revenues earned by similar businesses in similar
    12  time periods. The commission may  prescribe  reasonable  limits  on  the
    13  amount  of  reimbursement  and  compensation  available  to  a customer;
    14  provided that such amounts shall not be less than five  hundred  dollars
    15  for  losses of food and medications, one thousand dollars for damages to
    16  electrical equipment and instruments, and ten thousand dollars for  lost
    17  business.   Additional reimbursement and compensation in accordance with
    18  the preceding requirements  shall  be  provided  to  each  customer  who
    19  remains  without electricity for each additional forty-eight hour period
    20  that the service interruption continues. For the purposes of this  para-
    21  graph,  interruption  of  electric  service  shall  be deemed to include
    22  reductions in voltage that damage electric equipment or render it  func-
    23  tionally  inoperable.  The commission may provide for reasonable limita-
    24  tions on  the  aggregate  amount  of  reimbursements  and  compensation,
    25  provided  that  any  such  limitations shall take into consideration the
    26  duration of the interruption and its impact on residential  and  commer-
    27  cial customers.
    28    §  2.  Section 80 of the public service law is amended by adding a new
    29  subdivision 13 to read as follows:
    30    13. Notwithstanding any general or special law,  rule  or  regulation,
    31  have  power  to  impose prompt, meaningful rate refunds or reductions in
    32  instances where steam corporations fail  to  meet  objectively  measured
    33  service quality standards. Such refunds or reductions shall at a minimum
    34  equal  five percent of the amount billed to a customer for the provision
    35  of service for a period of twelve months or such longer  period  as  the
    36  commission  may  prescribe;  provided,  however, that the commission may
    37  prescribe a schedule setting forth both minimum and maximum amounts that
    38  a customer may receive in refunds or reductions. In addition,  in  every
    39  instance  where service is interrupted for a period of forty-eight hours
    40  or such lesser period as the commission may  determine,  the  commission
    41  shall require a steam corporation that provides service in a city of one
    42  million or more to reimburse customers for damages to or losses of prop-
    43  erty and to provide appropriate compensation to those commercial custom-
    44  ers who have lost business as a result of the service interruption. Such
    45  compensation  shall  be  based  upon  the average revenues earned by the
    46  business in similar time periods, or, for a new  business,  the  average
    47  revenues  earned  by  similar  businesses  in  similar time periods. The
    48  commission may prescribe reasonable limits on the amount  of  reimburse-
    49  ment  and  compensation  available  to  a  customer;  provided that such
    50  amounts shall not be less than five hundred dollars for losses of  prop-
    51  erty  and  ten thousand dollars for lost business. Additional reimburse-
    52  ment and compensation in  accordance  with  the  preceding  requirements
    53  shall  be provided to each customer who remains without service for each
    54  additional forty-eight hour period, or lesser period  as  determined  by
    55  the  commission, that the service interruption continues. The commission
    56  may provide for  reasonable  limitations  on  the  aggregate  amount  of

        S. 86                               3

     1  reimbursements  and  compensation,  provided  that  any such limitations
     2  shall take into consideration the duration of the interruption  and  its
     3  impact on residential and commercial customers.
     4    §  3.  On or before April 1, 2022, the public service commission shall
     5  review its existing policies and shall report to the  governor,  speaker
     6  of the assembly, the temporary president of the senate, the chair of the
     7  senate  finance  committee,  the  chair  of  the assembly ways and means
     8  committee, the chair of the assembly energy committee and the  chair  of
     9  the senate energy and telecommunications committee on whether additional
    10  legislation,  regulations  or  other  actions  are needed to ensure that
    11  electric and steam  corporations  adequately  reimburse  and  compensate
    12  their  customers for losses due to service interruptions and other fail-
    13  ures to provide safe and adequate service  as  required  by  the  public
    14  service law.
    15    § 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
    16  it shall have become a law. Provided, that the public service commission
    17  is immediately authorized to take any and all actions, including but not
    18  limited  to  the  promulgation  of any necessary rules and the review of
    19  reimbursement and compensation policies, necessary  to  fully  implement
    20  the provisions of this act on its effective date.
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