|SAME AS||SAME AS A06239-B|
|COSPNSR||ADDABBO, 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|
|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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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. LBD09713-08-4S. 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.