2004 LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM ENERGY
Following is The Business Council's 2004 Legislative Program. It identifies priority issues to be addressed by the Committees and Councils during 2004.
The following list of priorities was adopted on Dec 2, 2003. 1) The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), 2) Reauthorization of Article X, 3) Amending of Article VII, 4) Continuation/preservation of energy tax reductions/cuts and 5) Continued emphasis on energy infrastructure development in New York State (plants, transmission, pipelines).
RPS: The PSC initiated the current proceeding after the Governor proposed the RPS in his 2003 State of the State message. Specifically, he directed the PSC to develop a standard that would require New York's businesses and consumers to buy at least 25 percent of their electricity from "renewable energy resources" (i.e. solar, wind, etc.) by 2013. The Committee stated that a recommended decision on the RPS by the PSC staff should not be issued before critical studies are completed with respect to cost, feasibility, and reliability. These matters are far too important to be treated as mere ancillary elements of the deliberations. Instead of a rush to judgment that presents the commission with a single up-or-down plan, the DPS staff should give the commission a range of options on what standard should be adopted, when, and whether it should be mandatory or voluntary and at what costs to consumers. It was therefore decided that the RPS be top priority of the committee in 2004.
Actively promote changes to the state's legislative, regulatory and tax structures to reflect increased competition in New York's energy industry, promote increased economic development, and expedite the siting and construction of new generation (e.g. under article X of the Public Service Law and in other areas) and other energy infrastructure facilities (e.g. Article 7 of the Public Service Law) and in order to realize the siting of at least 9,200 megawatts of new generation over the next five (5) years for competition and reliability purposes.
- Oppose legislation that would repeal or delay currently enacted and scheduled energy tax reductions.
- Support legislation that would immediately eliminate Article 9 gross receipts taxes (§186-a of the New York State Tax Law) and the Natural Gas Importation Privilege Tax (GIPT) for all business customers (manufacturing and non-manufacturing).
- Support legislation that would accelerate the exemption from state sales taxes on natural gas and electric transportation service for all business customers.
- Support legislation that would insure property taxes levied on New York's energy corporations and generating facilities are comparable with other corporations within New York.
- Support legislation that would clarify existing law explicitly eliminating energy companies' service laterals from §102 of the Real Property Tax Law.
- Support legislation which eliminates the State's Petroleum Business Tax (PBT).
- Support the elimination of the PBT on petroleum products used for non-residential purposes -- electricity generation and heating.
- Support the elimination of the PBT on motor fuels (gasoline and diesel).
- Support the elimination of the PBT on kerojet fuel.
- Support the elimination of the annual indexing of the PBT.
- Support legislation which unifies all petroleum related taxes on motor fuels into one single excise tax, collectable on a per gallon basis.
- Support the elimination of special assessments on energy companies for funding state agencies.
- Oppose legislation which imposes or increases local gross receipts taxes and other taxes on utilities and their customers.
- Support elimination of state and local sales tax on the gas and electric commodity.
- Support legislation that would enforce the collection of taxes on motor fuel sales by Native American nations to non-native Americans.
Electricity and Natural Gas
- Support initiatives to facilitate the development of new electric generating capacity.Oppose regulations or legislation that would reduce SO2, NOX, CO2, and mercury emissions from electric generating plants to levels that would result in increased energy costs for consumers. Any proposed emissions standards must not impose any adverse effects (cost or otherwise) on the business community, on other users of electricity, or on the economic development of the state -- including the retention and expansion of jobs.
- Oppose legislation that would allow a municipal corporation to recover damages for their costs in responding to power outages and other emergencies.
- Support the Power Authority's efforts to utilize low-cost energy for job creation; job retention; and job and capital expansion purposes. These allocations should be utilized for the maximum economic benefit allowable under current laws.
- Support legislation which continues allocation of low cost electricity available under the state's successful Power for Jobs program insuring provisions that providers and distributors are held harmless.
- Support legislation that would reimburse energy companies fully for the cost of relocating, supporting, and protecting facilities in conjunction with federal, state and/or local government infrastructure project such as state Department of Transportation projects.
- Oppose legislation which restricts emissions trading policy.
- Oppose legislation which imposes system benefits charges (SBC) on electricity customers.
- Oppose legislation that would require the provision of market sensitive information to state agencies.
- Support legislation which would provide state agencies with the necessary flexibility to exempt certain sensitive information such as maps, architectural drawings, or other detailed information relating to electric, natural gas, steam or telecommunications systems or infrastructure from public disclosure while maintaining the existing appeals process for gaining access to such information.
- Oppose legislation that seeks to restrict the use of certain outdoor lighting installations thus resulting in less effective and less safe illumination of roadways and other public spaces.
- Oppose legislation that mandates specific technologies for electricity generating facilities.
- Oppose legislating programs which raise the cost of electricity and natural gas to customers, including proposals that unduly subsidize alternative supply strategies.
- Oppose legislation which imposes geographical limitations on the location of retail gasoline service stations.
- Oppose legislation that would require the divorcement / divestiture of retail gasoline stations operated by producers, refiners or distributors of petroleum products.
- Oppose legislation which regulates franchise agreements and mandates open supply for gasoline service stations.
- Support legislation which would increase penalties for gasoline tax evasion and expand the same provisions to include diesel motor fuel.
- Oppose legislation that would prevent petroleum companies from utilizing geographical zone pricing of gasoline as a marketing technique.
- Oppose legislation and/or regulations which set state or local gasoline standards which vary from federal standards.
- Oppose legislation which would prohibit volume minimums in motor fuel franchise agreements.
- Oppose legislation that would permit lessee dealers of gasoline service stations to alter the service station property.
- Support the full and expedited recovery of expenses incurred by energy companies in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks. Significant repairs were necessary to permanently restore the electric, gas and steam systems in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in emergency utility services, site cleanup, replacing and relocating facilities and equipment, and enhancements in the security of such services. In August 2002, the President and Congress allocated $750 million of Federal aid, a significant amount of which is dedicated toward reimbursing utilities for these costs. To date only a small portion of the promised aid has been disbursed.
- Oppose legislation which would require the New York State Public Service Commission to review the compensation and benefits paid to certain officers, directors, and high level employees of the companies it regulates.
- Oppose legislation which further erodes the statutory protection afforded to the business records of corporations which are affiliates of public utility corporations.
- Support legislation that authorizes municipalities, in the conduct of public works projects to use appropriate mechanisms for reducing public inconvenience, project delays and costs, including but not limited to treating the cost of utility facility relocations, support and protection work as part of the public project bid.
- Oppose efforts to undermine the Public Service Commission's efforts to restructure New York's electric and gas industries.
- Support efforts to ensure that the costs of additional security at energy related facilities are fully recoverable.
- Oppose legislation which would impose redundant "whistleblower" reporting requirements.
- Support the continued operation of all existing, economically viable, base load electric generating facilities, including nuclear plants, as a means of ensuring stable and competitive prices and supply diversity.
- Support a statewide policy that encourages a safe, secure, economic, reliable and diverse supply of energy.