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K00746 Summary:

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K00746 Text:

Assembly Resolution No. 746
BY: M. of A. Cahill
        COMMEMORATING  the  40th Anniversary of the Public
        Utility Law Project of New York,  Inc.  (PULP),  and
        observing  the  40th  Anniversary of the Home Energy
        Fair Practices Act
  WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to commemorate the
40th Anniversary of the Public Utility Law Project  of  New  York,  Inc.
(PULP),  and  to  observe  the  40th Anniversary of the Home Energy Fair
Practices Act; and
  WHEREAS, PULP was incorporated on October 12, 1981, as  a  501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization and is celebrating its 40th Anniversary beginning
October 12, 2021, and ending October 12, 2022; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP was founded in the wake of the late 1970s oil crisis,
several years before its incorporation, by a collaborative effort of the
Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY) and the  Schenectady
Community  Action  Agency to protect the rights of low- and fixed-income
rural and urban utility consumers and work  to  avert  or  moderate  the
unreasonable  utility  rate-hikes  caused  by  sharp increases in energy
costs; and
  WHEREAS, For 40  years,  PULP  has  championed  the  rights  of  the
low-income,  seniors  on  fixed-incomes, and disabled utility consumers,
and worked  closely  with  elected  officials,  other  civil  and  legal
services  firms  and  advocacy  groups  to  assist  rural  and urban New
Yorkers, communities of color, immigrants and the broad  mosaic  of  New
York State's vulnerable households; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP  was  instrumental  in  drafting the Home Energy Fair
Practices Act (HEFPA), and in advising former Senator Dale  Volcker  and
former  Assemblymember  Oliver  Koppell, the sponsors and negotiators of
the historic consumer protection legislation, and in advocating for  its
passage by the New York State Senate and Assembly; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP  advocated with Governor Hugh Carey for the enactment
of HEFPA, New York's nationally significant energy  consumers'  bill  of
rights, which Governor Carey signed into law on October 19, 1981; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP's  four decades of zealous and principled advocacy on
behalf of New York's low-income and fixed-income utility consumers  have
resulted in the creation of a historic statewide residential energy bill
discount  program,  New  York's  Universal Service and Lifeline discount
telephone programs, stronger regulation of ESCOs,  increasing  focus  by
utilities  upon  consumer  protection,  and  also sparked a movement for
affordable water in New York; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP's  enthusiastic   intervention   in   major   energy,
telecommunications  and  water  rate-cases  lowered utilities' perennial
bill  increases,  broadened  consumer  protections  and  triggered  more
consumer-friendly   utility   company   policies   protecting  low-  and
fixed-income consumers and millions of other New Yorkers; and
  WHEREAS, PULP celebrates and supports the mosaic of  diversity  that
is  the  State  of  New  York by developing multi-lingual utility rights
materials, and conducting "Know Your Rights"  training  for  innumerable
consumer, community and advocate groups; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP works closely with and has educated the State's legal
services and legal  aid  providers,  community-based  organizations  and
elected officials' constituent relations staff in order to create better
outcomes for utility company consumer crises and complaints; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP  has provided continuing legal education to attorneys
in the State Legislature and State agencies, and members of the Attorney
General's office, to enhance their knowledge of  utility  consumer  law,
policy and emerging issues; and
  WHEREAS,  PULP has worked zealously to protect low- and fixed-income
consumers during the COVID-19  pandemic  and  economic  crisis,  and  to
create  a solution to the massive utility debt crisis caused by COVID-19
that resulted in more than 1.3 million households owing energy utilities
more than $1.7 billion, and in unknown but equally huge water, telephone
and  internet  services  consumer  debt  that  will   otherwise   affect
low-income households for decades; and
  WHEREAS,  For decades, PULP has answered the call of the Legislature
to provide expert advice to investigative hearings, special task  forces
and  work  groups  investigating harmful utility issues such as: service
outages, nuclear plant failures, overcharges and  billing  inaccuracies,
environmental  concerns,  consumer protection needs and/or failures, the
need for special consumer protections in crises  such  as  the  COVID-19
pandemic  and economic collapse, and such other issues as are within the
concern of the Legislature and local governmental  subdivisions  of  the
Great State of New York; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Public Utility  Law  Project  of
New  York,  Inc., and to observe the 40th Anniversary of the Home Energy
Fair Practices Act; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this  Resolution,  suitably  engrossed,  be
transmitted to the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc.
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