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Legislative Memo

Darren Suarez
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

A.1598-A (Kellner) / S.4936 (Maziarz)

Support

SUBJECT:

Ex Parte Communications

 

DATE:

May 24, 2011

 

The Business Council opposes this bill which would require any party involved in proceedings before the Public Service Commission (PSC) to give written notification of any ex parte communications with the PSC to other affected parties.

This is the wrong policy for a number of reasons.

First, communication among the agency and interested parties is critical to helping maintain the agency’s knowledge about the industries it regulates.  Throughout proceedings critical data and other information is shared, facilitating better understanding and ultimately settlements between parties.  Unhindered communication between PSC staff and parties is the key to the efficient and fair resolution of matters pending before the Commission. This measure will undue these working relationships.

Secondly, there is no record to indicate that there have been abuses in the system to warrant restricting communication between regulators and service providers.  Current laws adequately limit outside parties influence on the PSC. 

Finally, the requirement that service providers notify their competitors about discussions with the PSC is not proper. Often, the information shared with the PSC is of a proprietary nature and could harm a party’s competitive position. 

This legislation would slow the regulatory process and create unintended burdens on parties involved in proceedings before the PSC.

For these reasons the Business Council recommends against approval of A.1598-A/S.4936