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S05856 Summary:

Add §28, Pub Serv L
Clarifies the time in which the public service commission must act upon certain petitions; requires reporting to the legislature.
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S05856 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     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
    32  petition.
    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
    40  petition;
    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.
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