Home

Legislative Memo

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

BILL:

S.6724-B (DeFrancisco)

Support

SUBJECT:

Subjects Certain PSC Assessments to Greater Oversight

 

DATE:

May 23, 2016

 

The Business Council supports S.6724B which would subject any increase in rates, charges, surcharges, assessments, fees, levies, or any other collections, which would increase costs for ratepayers by more than $700,000; collected solely for and directed to NYSERDA to the oversight of the New York State Public Authorities Control Board (PACB).

The PACB was created and empowered pursuant to Sections 50 and 51 of the Public Authorities Law in 1976 in response to the growing amount of Public Authority Debt. It is a five member board appointed by the Governor. Four of the members must be appointed upon a single recommendation made by the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate and the minority leader of the assembly.

The legislation would require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to submit a full cost-benefit analysis  on the impact of any increase in rates, charges, surcharges, assessments, fees, levies, or any other collections; or  a transfer, repurposing, reprogramming; or any other action that would change the use of money previously designated or intended for a different purpose. The legislation requires that such cost-benefit analysis shows such covered actions are just, reasonable, and in the public interest.

Recent actions by the PSC have subjected energy consumers to over $5 Billion in new fees and assessments. The Commission has adopted some broad guiding principles on the use of those funds but few concrete details.  The lack of specificity and the often shifting priorities of the Commission have made it nearly impossible for the general public to evaluate the cost-benefit of the new assessments.

Although the Commission has publicly stated support for reducing the fees and assessments on energy consumers while the Commission on an almost daily basis announces new programs with newly imposed fees and assessments. It appears that the PSC interest in new programs is greater than their interest in reducing the fees and assessments. The PACB helped to check growing public debt in the 1970’s: the ever mounting energy fees and assessments in the form of the Clean Energy Fund, REV, Energy Efficiency Transition Implementation Plans, and many more, needs to be properly reviewed.

For these reasons, The Business Council supports passage S.6724.