Home

Legislative Memo

BILL:

A.7593 (Cahill)/S.4208 (Savino)

Support

SUBJECT:

Utility Call Centers

 

DATE:

June 1, 2009

 

The Business Council strongly opposes this legislation, which would require gas and electric corporations and municipal utilities to provide certain call center services to customers from centers located within their respective in-state service territories. It would also require the Public Service Commission to establish call center performance thresholds and penalties for utilities that fail to meet established thresholds.

This bill is based on the specious argument that call center services provided from a location within a specific geographic region somehow provide a greater level of responsiveness and sensitivity to customer concerns and questions. Most of the specific services listed in the bill are done electronically (such as determining customer financial responsibility, determining required deposit or billing rates, preparing meter service orders, investigating high bills and credit arrangements, etc.)

The physical location of the call center has no bearing on the timeliness and responsiveness of addressing customer concerns.

A.7593/S.4208 flies in the face of the restructured, competitive premise of New York's energy industry and would increase costs to consumers by restricting companies from efficiently managing the costs associated with the operation of their call centers.

The bill also burdens utilities with new penalties for failure to meet, as yet, undetermined service quality thresholds for call load, average handling time, and peak and busy hour traffic. The Business Council strongly opposes measures such as A.7593/S.4208, which place unreasonable limits on business activity and for these reasons, we urge you to oppose this legislation.