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Micah Kellner
Assembly District 76
Public Service Commission Delivers a Significant Victory for Tenants on Submetering
Statement by Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner
September 17, 2009

“I cannot thank Chairman Brown and the Commissioners and staff of the Public Service Commission enough for today’s groundbreaking decision to permanently stay the submetering orders for Roosevelt Landings, Frawley Plaza, Metro North, and the Alpacas I&II.

“Initially when I challenged the PSC’s approval of submetering at Roosevelt Landings, the PSC issued a temporary stay. Now that the Commission has made that stay permanent, tenants can rest assured that they will not be subjected to any submetering scheme without their full consultation and basic tenant protections to ensure they are not unduly burdened.

“The PSC’s decision today promises a brighter future that doesn’t pit tenant rights against environmental goals – it proves that we can do both. The protections won are meaningful acknowledgements of what has been a deeply flawed process from a tenants’ rights perspective – and while more needs to be done, there is no question that we are moving in the right direction.

“The Commission’s order addresses the need for tenants to be protected from illegal eviction proceedings that are too often brought over unpaid utility bills. It also acknowledges that asking tenants to use energy more efficiently means requiring landlords to give tenants the tools that make this possible, such as installing thermostats in electrically-heated buildings.

“While I am pleased with the victories won today, more work needs to be done to ensure that tenants are treated fairly. Some of the requirements do not go far enough – for instance, I do not believe that submetering should ever be allowed in the minority of buildings left in New York City that use electric heated. At a minimum, I will continue to push for the metering of electric heating to be separated out from other electrical uses.

“Also, while this order relates to four specific buildings – creating tremendous precedent for future cases – the reality is that these basic tenant protections should be clearly written into law so that all New Yorkers share the same rights and are governed by the same rules.”

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