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S04550 Summary:

BILL NOS04550B
 
SAME ASSAME AS A06239-B
 
SPONSORSAVINO
 
COSPNSRADDABBO, AVELLA, BRESLIN, CARLUCCI, DILAN, ESPAILLAT, GIPSON, GRISANTI, HANNON, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HOYLMAN, KENNEDY, KLEIN, KRUEGER, LANZA, LATIMER, MARTINS, MONTGOMERY, PARKER, PERKINS, SAMPSON, SANDERS, SMITH, SQUADRON, STAVISKY, TKACZYK, VALESKY
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add Art 1-A SS28-a - 28-d, Pub Serv L
 
Creates the state office of the utility consumer advocate to represent interests of residential utility customers.
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S04550 Memo:

Memo not available
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S04550 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         4550--B
 
                               2013-2014 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                     April 10, 2013
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  Sens.  SAVINO,  ADDABBO,  AVELLA,  CARLUCCI,  ESPAILLAT,
          GIPSON, GRISANTI, HANNON, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HOYLMAN,  KENNEDY,  KLEIN,
          KRUEGER,  LATIMER,  MONTGOMERY,  PARKER,  SAMPSON,  SQUADRON, TKACZYK,
          VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed,  and  when  printed  to  be
          committed  to the Committee on Finance -- recommitted to the Committee

          on Finance in accordance with Senate  Rule  6,  sec.  8  --  committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to  said  committee  --  committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
 
        AN ACT to amend the public service law,  in  relation  to  creating  the
          state office of the utility consumer advocate
 
          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  article
     2  1-A to read as follows:
     3                                 ARTICLE 1-A
     4              THE STATE OFFICE OF THE UTILITY CONSUMER ADVOCATE
     5  Section 28-a. Definitions.
     6          28-b. Establishment  of the state office of the utility consumer

     7                  advocate.
     8          28-c. Powers of the state office of the utility  consumer  advo-
     9                  cate.
    10          28-d. Reports.
    11    §  28-a.  Definitions.  When  used in this article:   (a) "Department"
    12  means the department of public service.
    13    (b) "Commission" means the public service commission.
    14    (c) "Residential utility customer" means any person  who  is  sold  or
    15  offered for sale residential utility service by a utility company.
    16    (d)  "Utility  company" means any person or entity operating an agency
    17  for public service, including, but not  limited  to,  those  persons  or
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets

                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD09713-08-4

        S. 4550--B                          2
 
     1  entities  subject  to  the  jurisdiction,  supervision  and  regulations
     2  prescribed by or pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
     3    §  28-b.  Establishment  of  the  state office of the utility consumer
     4  advocate. There is established the state office of the utility  consumer
     5  advocate  to  represent  the interests of residential utility customers.
     6  The utility consumer advocate shall be appointed by the  governor  to  a
     7  term of six years, upon the advice and consent of the senate. The utili-
     8  ty  consumer  advocate shall possess knowledge and experience in matters

     9  affecting residential utility customers and shall be responsible for the
    10  direction, control, and operation of the state  office  of  the  utility
    11  consumer  advocate,  including  its  hiring  of  staff  and retention of
    12  experts for analysis and testimony in proceedings. The utility  consumer
    13  advocate  shall  not be removed for cause, but may be removed only after
    14  notice and opportunity to be heard, and only for  permanent  disability,
    15  malfeasance, a felony, or conduct involving moral turpitude. Exercise of
    16  independent  judgment  in  advocating positions on behalf of residential
    17  utility customers shall not constitute cause for removal of the  utility
    18  consumer advocate.
    19    §  28-c.  Powers of the state office of the utility consumer advocate.

    20  The state office of the utility consumer advocate shall have  the  power
    21  and  duty  to:  (a)  initiate, intervene in, or participate on behalf of
    22  residential utility customers in any proceedings before the  commission,
    23  the  federal  energy  regulatory  commission, the federal communications
    24  commission, federal, state and local administrative and regulatory agen-
    25  cies, and state and federal courts in any matter or proceeding that  may
    26  substantially  affect  the  interests  of residential utility customers,
    27  including, but not limited to, a  proposed  change  of  rates,  charges,
    28  terms  and  conditions  of  service, the adoption of rules, regulations,
    29  guidelines, orders, standards or final policy decisions where the utili-

    30  ty consumer advocate deems  such  initiation,  intervention  or  partic-
    31  ipation to be necessary or appropriate;
    32    (b)  represent  the  interests of residential utility customers of the
    33  state before federal, state  and  local  administrative  and  regulatory
    34  agencies engaged in the regulation of energy, telecommunications, water,
    35  and  other  utility  services,  and  before  state and federal courts in
    36  actions and proceedings to review the actions of utilities or orders  of
    37  utility  regulatory  agencies.  Any  action or proceeding brought by the
    38  utility consumer advocate before a court or an agency shall  be  brought
    39  in  the  name  of the state office of the utility consumer advocate. The

    40  utility consumer advocate may join with a residential  utility  customer
    41  or group of residential utility customers in bringing an action;
    42    (c)  (i) in addition to any other authority conferred upon the utility
    43  consumer advocate, he or she is authorized, and it shall be his  or  her
    44  duty  to  represent  the interests of residential utility customers as a
    45  party, or otherwise participate for  the  purpose  of  representing  the
    46  interests of such customers before any agencies or courts. He or she may
    47  initiate proceedings if in his or her judgment doing so may be necessary
    48  in  connection  with  any  matter involving the actions or regulation of
    49  public utility companies whether on appeal or otherwise  initiated.  The

    50  utility  consumer advocate may monitor all cases before regulatory agen-
    51  cies in the United States, including the federal communications  commis-
    52  sion and the federal energy regulatory commission that affect the inter-
    53  ests  of  residential  utility  customers  of the state and may formally
    54  participate in those proceedings which in his or her  judgment  warrants
    55  such participation.

        S. 4550--B                          3
 
     1    (ii) the utility consumer advocate shall exercise his or her independ-
     2  ent  discretion  in  determining  the  interests  of residential utility
     3  customers that will be advocated  in  any  proceeding,  and  determining
     4  whether  to  participate in or initiate any proceeding and, in so deter-

     5  mining, shall consider the public interest, the resources available, and
     6  the  substantiality  of  the effect of the proceeding on the interest of
     7  residential utility customers;
     8    (d) request and receive from any state  or  local  authority,  agency,
     9  department  or  division  of  the  state  or  political subdivision such
    10  assistance, personnel, information, books, records, other  documentation
    11  and cooperation necessary to perform its duties; and
    12    (e) enter into cooperative agreements with other government offices to
    13  efficiently carry out its work.
    14    §  28-d.  Reports.  On  July  first, two thousand fifteen and annually
    15  thereafter, the state office of  the  utility  consumer  advocate  shall

    16  issue a report to the governor and the legislature, and make such report
    17  available  to the public free of charge on a publicly available website,
    18  containing, but not limited to, the following information:
    19    (a) all proceedings that the state  office  of  the  utility  consumer
    20  advocate  participated  in  and  the outcome of such proceedings, to the
    21  extent of such outcome and if not confidential;
    22    (b) estimated savings to residential utility consumers  that  resulted
    23  from  intervention by the state office of the utility consumer advocate;
    24  and
    25    (c) policy recommendations and suggested statutory amendments that the
    26  state office of the utility consumer advocate deems necessary.

    27    § 2. This act shall take effect on the first of April next  succeeding
    28  the date on which it shall have become a law.
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