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A03360 Summary:

BILL NOA03360A
 
SAME ASSAME AS S04824-A
 
SPONSORPaulin
 
COSPNSROtis, Galef, Vanel, Barron, Jacobson, Santabarbara, Griffin
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd §66, add §73, Pub Serv L
 
Requires each electric corporation to submit a storm hardening and system resiliency plan to the public service commission for review and approval; makes related provisions (Part A); requires utility companies to reimburse customers for certain widespread prolonged outages; prohibits utility companies from recovering from customers the costs incurred due to power outage reimbursements; authorizes utility companies to petition the public service commission for a waiver of the reimbursement requirements (Part B).
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A03360 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A3360A
 
SPONSOR: Paulin
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to storm hardening and system resiliency plans (Part A); and to amend the public service law, in relation to providing rate payers with reimbursement following prolonged power outages (Part B)   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to provide compensation to residential and small business customers of gas and electric corporations experiencing prolonged service outages lasting longer than 72 hours.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1. Each component of this act is wholly contained within a part identified as parts A and B. Part A Section 1. Legislative findings. Section 2. Section 66 of the Public Service Law would be amended to require every combination gas and electrical utility corporation regu- lated by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to submit a climate change vulnerability study which shall evaluate the electric corporation's infrastructure, design specifications, and procedures to better under- stand the corporation's vulnerability to climate-driven risks, and shall include, but not be limited to, adaptation measures to address vulner- abilities and any other information deemed necessary by the commission. In addition, every combination gas and electrical utility corporation regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC) shall submit a climate resilience plan ("plan") that covers the immediate ten-year and twenty- year period to the PSC. Each plan shall explain the approach the corpo- ration will follow to mitigate the impacts of climate change to utility infrastructure, reduce restoration costs and outage times associated with extreme weather events and enhance reliability. The plan shall also detail how the corporation will incorporate climate change into its planning, design, operations, and emergency response, incorporate climate change into existing processes and practices, manage climate change risks and build resilience. The PSC shall adopt rules to specify the elements that must be included in a corporation's plan, and either approve or modify said plan within 11 months of submission based on statutory criteria, such as the esti- mated annual rate impact resulting from plan implementation, following a public hearing. Each corporation must file an updated storm plan with the PSC for approval at least every 5 years. The costs for implementing the plan may be recovered separately from such corporation's base rates as a separate annual charge, subject to approval by the PSC in an annual proceeding if the PSC determines such costs are fair, reasonable, and prudent. The PSC shall submit an annual report to the Governor and Legislature on the status of each subject corporation's storm protection activities. Each corporation shall establish a utility climate resilience working group no later than one year after the effective date of this article. Each corporation must file their most recently approved plan with each county in their respective service territories. The costs for implementing the plan may be recovered separately from such corporation's base rates as a separate annual charge, subject to approval by the PSC in an annual proceeding if the PSC determines such costs are fair, reasonable, and prudent. The PSC shall submit an annual report to the Governor and Legislature on the status of each subject corporation's storm protection activities. Section 3. This act shall take effect 180 days after becoming law. The PSC may promulgate any rules or regulates necessary for implementation of this act on or before the effective date. Part B Section one would amend the public service law by adding a new section 73 that would require gas and electric corporations to provide residen- tial customers: 1) with a credit of $25 on the balance of their bill for each twenty-four hour period of service outage that occurs for more than 72 consecutive hours after an emergency event; and 2) with a reimburse- ment up to $235 if the customer provides an itemized list or up to $540 if the customer provides proof of loss, for any food that expires or spoils due to a service outage that lasts longer than 72 consecutive hours after an emergency event; and 3) reimbursement for prescription medications that have spoiled up to the amount of the actual loss. Small business customers shall be reimbursed by gas and electric corporations for food spoilage up to $235 if they provide a list or up to $540 if they provide documentation of losses. Any costs incurred by the electric or gas corporation in compliance with this section shall not be recover- able from ratepayers. Additionally, such corporations may petition the Public Service Commis- sion for a waiver of the credits/reimbursement requirements within 14 days after the occurrence of the emergency event. The corporation must demonstrate granting of the waiver is fair, reasonable and in the public interest. When determining whether to grant such waiver, the commission shall consider factors such as whether the corporation complied with their submitted emergency response plan and the hardships endured by the customers due to the prolonged service outage Section two provides that if any provision of this act or application to any person, corporation or circumstance is found to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the act. Section three provides the effective date for Part B. Section two provides a severability clause. Section three provides the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: When Tropical Storm Isaias tore through New York in August of 2020, it left behind a wake of downed trees and power lines resulting in hundreds of thousands of customers without power. A state of emergency was declared in Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Yet, more than a week later, 35,000 customers in the state were still without power. Such storms have increased in frequency and intensity, and effects of climate change have further impacted the electrical infrastructure. Part A of this bill would require electric utility companies throughout the State to develop and implement dedicated climate resilience programs to mitigate the impact of climate change and reduce damage, restoration times, and costs from future weather events. In 2018, Winter Storm Riley and Winter Storm Quinn greatly impacted New York's electrical distribution system with nearly 500,000 customers losing power. An investigation by the Department of Public Service recommended New York's major electrical utilities create and implement storm hardening and system resiliency plans by July 2019; however, the Public Service Commission has been unduly slow in their approval of submitted plans. Legislative hearings following these storms made it clear that efforts are needed to mitigate the impacts of such storms and the effects of climate change to the distribution infrastructure and customers. By requiring electrical utilities to adopt and implement climate resilience plans and the Public Service Commission to approve such plans within a fixed timeline, New Yorkers will be better prepared to endure and recover from future extreme weather events and the impacts of climate change. Part B of this bill addresses the delayed restoration efforts following Tropical Storm Isaias. These delays caused a significant disruption to customers' daily routines, as well as the financial loss of spoiled food and medication. It was later determined that inadequate storm preparations by some util- ity companies and breakdowns in communication systems played a role in the delayed restoration times. This bill puts rate payers first in the event of prolonged service outage providing compensation via customer's accounts. Simply put, if utilities fall short restoring service, custom- ers now have recourse.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None to the state.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately provided, however, that the applicable effective date of parts A through B of this act shall be as specifically set forth in the last section of such parts.
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