Bill Text: NY S08301 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

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

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-05-08 - REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS [S08301 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S08301-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                    IN SENATE

                                       May 8, 2020

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

        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
    26  such amounts as the commission determines reasonably reflect the cost of
    27  usage to such customer; and  (d)  refrain  from  treating  the  disputed

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

        S. 8301                             2

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