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S08411 Summary:

BILL NOS08411
 
SAME ASSAME AS A09570
 
SPONSORSAVINO
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add Art 1-A §§28-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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S08411 Actions:

BILL NOS08411
 
02/24/2022REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
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S08411 Memo:

Memo not available
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S08411 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          8411
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                    February 24, 2022
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  Sen.  SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on  Energy  and  Telecommuni-
          cations
 
        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
    18  entities  subject  to  the  jurisdiction,  supervision  and  regulations
    19  prescribed by or pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
    20    §  28-b.  Establishment  of  the  state office of the utility consumer
    21  advocate. There is established the state office of the utility  consumer
    22  advocate  to  represent  the interests of residential utility customers.
    23  The utility consumer advocate shall be appointed by the  governor  to  a
    24  term of six years, upon the advice and consent of the senate. The utili-
    25  ty  consumer  advocate shall possess knowledge and experience in matters
    26  affecting residential utility customers and shall be responsible for the
    27  direction, control, and operation of the state  office  of  the  utility
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05754-02-2

        S. 8411                             2
 
     1  consumer  advocate,  including  its  hiring  of  staff  and retention of
     2  experts for analysis and testimony in proceedings. The utility  consumer
     3  advocate  shall  not be removed for cause, but may be removed only after
     4  notice  and  opportunity to be heard, and only for permanent disability,
     5  malfeasance, a felony, or conduct involving moral turpitude. Exercise of
     6  independent judgment in advocating positions on  behalf  of  residential
     7  utility  customers shall not constitute cause for removal of the utility
     8  consumer advocate.
     9    § 28-c.  Powers of the state office of the utility consumer  advocate.
    10  The  state  office of the utility consumer advocate shall have the power
    11  and duty to: (a) initiate, intervene in, or  participate  on  behalf  of
    12  residential  utility customers in any proceedings before the commission,
    13  the federal energy regulatory  commission,  the  federal  communications
    14  commission, federal, state and local administrative and regulatory agen-
    15  cies,  and state and federal courts in any matter or proceeding that may
    16  substantially affect the interests  of  residential  utility  customers,
    17  including,  but  not  limited  to,  a proposed change of rates, charges,
    18  terms and conditions of service, the  adoption  of  rules,  regulations,
    19  guidelines, orders, standards or final policy decisions where the utili-
    20  ty  consumer  advocate  deems  such  initiation, intervention or partic-
    21  ipation to be necessary or appropriate;
    22    (b) represent the interests of residential utility  customers  of  the
    23  state  before  federal,  state  and  local administrative and regulatory
    24  agencies engaged in the regulation of energy, telecommunications, water,
    25  and other utility services, and  before  state  and  federal  courts  in
    26  actions  and proceedings to review the actions of utilities or orders of
    27  utility regulatory agencies. Any action or  proceeding  brought  by  the
    28  utility  consumer  advocate before a court or an agency shall be brought
    29  in the name of the state office of the utility  consumer  advocate.  The
    30  utility  consumer  advocate may join with a residential utility customer
    31  or group of residential utility customers in bringing an action;
    32    (c) (i) in addition to any other authority conferred upon the  utility
    33  consumer  advocate,  he or she is authorized, and it shall be his or her
    34  duty to represent the interests of residential utility  customers  as  a
    35  party,  or  otherwise  participate  for  the purpose of representing the
    36  interests of such customers before any agencies or courts. He or she may
    37  initiate proceedings if in his or her judgment doing so may be necessary
    38  in connection with any matter involving the  actions  or  regulation  of
    39  public  utility  companies whether on appeal or otherwise initiated. The
    40  utility consumer advocate may monitor all cases before regulatory  agen-
    41  cies  in the United States, including the federal communications commis-
    42  sion and the federal energy regulatory commission that affect the inter-
    43  ests of residential utility customers of  the  state  and  may  formally
    44  participate  in  those proceedings which in his or her judgment warrants
    45  such participation.
    46    (ii) the utility consumer advocate shall exercise his or her independ-
    47  ent discretion in  determining  the  interests  of  residential  utility
    48  customers  that  will  be  advocated  in any proceeding, and determining
    49  whether to participate in or initiate any proceeding and, in  so  deter-
    50  mining, shall consider the public interest, the resources available, and
    51  the  substantiality  of the effect of the proceeding on the interests of
    52  residential utility customers;
    53    (d) request and receive from any state  or  local  authority,  agency,
    54  department  or  division  of  the  state  or  political subdivision such
    55  assistance, personnel, information, books, records, other  documentation
    56  and cooperation necessary to perform his or her duties; and

        S. 8411                             3
 
     1    (e) enter into cooperative agreements with other government offices to
     2  efficiently carry out his or her work.
     3    § 28-d. Reports. On July first, two thousand twenty-three and annually
     4  thereafter,  the  state  office  of  the utility consumer advocate shall
     5  issue a report to the governor and the legislature, and make such report
     6  available to the public free of charge on a publicly available  website,
     7  containing, but not limited to, the following information:
     8    (a)  all  proceedings  that  the  state office of the utility consumer
     9  advocate participated in and the outcome of  such  proceedings,  to  the
    10  extent of such outcome, and if not confidential;
    11    (b)  estimated  savings to residential utility consumers that resulted
    12  from intervention by the state office of the utility consumer  advocate;
    13  and
    14    (c) policy recommendations and suggested statutory amendments that the
    15  state office of the utility consumer advocate deems necessary.
    16    §  2. This act shall take effect on the first of April next succeeding
    17  the date on which it shall have become a law.
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