STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
March 19, 2021
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 clarifying the
mandatory time within which the public service commission must act
upon petitions submitted by regulated entities and the citizenry
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 28 to read as follows:
3 § 28. Petitions; time period for action to be taken. 1. For the
4 purposes of this section, the term:
5 (a) "customer" shall mean a customer or consumer of a utility service
6 that is regulated pursuant to this chapter, who shall be either an indi-
7 vidual; a group of individuals; the mayor of a city; the trustees of a
8 village; the town board of a town; or the chief executive office or the
9 legislative body of a county. For the purposes of this subdivision,
10 "customer" shall include the division of consumer protection of the
11 department of state.
12 (b) "petition" shall mean any petition or complaint filed with or
13 submitted to the commission pursuant to this chapter by a customer,
14 alleging or relating to:
15 (i) the failure or omitting to do anything required of a public utili-
16 ty company by any provision of this chapter, or by any regulations or an
17 order of the commission;
18 (ii) any actions taken by a public utility company, its officers,
19 employees or agents that are contrary to or in violation of the
20 provisions of this chapter; the regulations or an order of the commis-
21 sion; or the terms or conditions of the franchise or charter of the
22 public utility company;
23 (iii) rate charges or classification of service; or
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
S. 5856 2
1 (iv) the adequacy, efficiency or reliability of service.
2 Such term shall not mean or include any petition filed or submitted by
3 a public utility corporation or any corporation that provides or
4 supplies utility services pursuant to this chapter.
5 2. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, and
6 except where a shorter time period is required pursuant to this chapter,
7 the commission shall complete its investigation and issue a determi-
8 nation or decision with respect to any petition within ninety days of
9 the filing or submission of the petition.
10 (b) Notwithstanding any provision of paragraph (a) of this subdivi-
11 sion, if the petition alleges an emergency or some other action that
12 threatens or impacts the health or safety of any person or the surround-
13 ing area, the commission shall make a determination as soon as possible
14 but in no event more than thirty days from the date when such petition
15 was filed or submitted.
16 (c) If the commission is unable to meet the time limitations set forth
17 in this subdivision, the commission shall prepare and send to the peti-
18 tioner or complainant a written document stating the reasons for the
19 failure or inability of the commission to comply with the time frames,
20 and the date when a determination will be made, except that the
21 provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to petitions described in
22 paragraph (b) of this subdivision.
23 (d) Notwithstanding any provision of this subdivision and of this
24 chapter to the contrary, if the petitioner or complainant requests an
25 opportunity to be heard on the petition, the commission shall commence
26 the hearing within ten business days of the request and shall make its
27 determination within thirty days of the last day of the hearing. If the
28 commission directs that a hearing be conducted on the petition, the
29 decision to conduct such hearing shall be made within thirty days of the
30 initial filing of the petition, and the hearing shall be completed and a
31 decision thereon issued within ninety days of the initial filing of the
33 3. On or before February fifteenth of each year, the commission shall
34 submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the assembly, the tempo-
35 rary president of the senate and the chairs of senate and assembly
36 committees on corporations, authorities and commissions setting forth:
37 (a) the total number of petitions filed or submitted with the commis-
38 sion in the previous calendar year;
39 (b) a breakdown of such petitions by utility and subject matter of the
41 (c) the number of such petitions upheld, dismissed or otherwise
42 resolved, broken down by utility and subject matter;
43 (d) the number and percentage of petitions that were upheld, dismissed
44 or resolved within the statutory time frame; and
45 (e) if applicable, the number of petitions that were not completed or
46 resolved within the statutory time frames, the reasons for failure to
47 meet the time frames, and the average length of time for such petitions
48 to be finally completed or resolved.
49 4. If the commission fails to meet or comply with the time frames set
50 forth in this subdivision, the petitioner or complainant may commence a
51 special proceeding against the commission pursuant to subdivision one of
52 section seventy-eight hundred three of the civil practice law and rules.
53 A prevailing petitioner or complainant shall be entitled to reasonable
54 attorney's fees and court costs.
55 § 2. On or before the one hundred eightieth day after the effective
56 date of this act, the public service commission shall make or render a
S. 5856 3
1 determination on any petition or complaint that was filed with or
2 submitted to such commission prior to the effective date of this act. As
3 soon as reasonably possible after the end of the 180 day period, the
4 public service commission shall issue a report to the governor, the
5 speaker of the assembly, the temporary president of the senate and the
6 chairs of the senate and assembly standing committees on corporations,
7 authorities and commissions stating the total number of petitions or
8 complaints involved; the number of petitions or complaints dismissed or
9 resolved; and if such commission is unable to meet this time frame, the
10 reasons for the delay or inaction.
11 § 3. Severability. If any provision of this act or its application to
12 any person or circumstance is held invalid, this invalidity does not
13 affect other provisions or applications of this act that can be given
14 effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the
15 provisions of this act are declared to be severable.
16 § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.