Hevesi Passes Legislation to Ensure Fair Pricing on Utility Usage and Timely Updating of Rent Reduction Schedules

March 8, 2010

Assembly bills A.193A and A.186B, written and sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), passed the Assembly with overwhelming support. As a large number of buildings throughout New York State are undergoing the conversion process from master metered systems to sub or individually metered systems, oversight and regulation of how these new systems are measured is needed. This legislative package ensures that tenants will be charged the actual amount of usage and prevent any overcharges due to incorrect readings from faulty equipment. It also requires the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to update the rent reduction schedule every three years.

“Making sure the DHCR publishes an updated schedule of rent reductions will allow tenants the opportunity to plan for the reduction of their rent and the addition of an electric bill. The new oversight provided by the Public Service Commission (PSC) will enable tenants to be fairly and honestly appraised of their utility usage without fear of being overcharged,” said Assemblyman Hevesi.

Currently, there is no oversight in the reading of a tenant’s meter. Assembly bill A.186B will require oversight and testing of the meters by the Public Service Commission to ensure that the meters that are installed meet all of standards set by the PSC.

The movement to switch buildings in New York from master meters to sub or individual meters is a positive step in promoting energy conservation and efficiency. The Public Service Commission will help ensure the conservation of power usage and protect tenants from fear of being charged for phantom usage while allowing for an implementation law to mitigate any financial hardships that might occur due to rent increases . Both bills are being carried in the Senate by Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, Chair of the Senate Codes committee.

“For too long, tenants of New York have been allotted little recourse when faced with incorrect gas and electric charges. Before, tenants only could deal with their respective companies and those who the company hired to install their meters. Now, with this bill, tenants can be assured of fair appraisal,” said Assemblyman Hevesi.

Assemblyman Hevesi is the Chair of the Assembly Sub Committee on Renewable Energy and a member of the Assembly Energy Committee.