Bill Memo: Intervenor Reimbursement
This legislation amends the Public Service Law by adding a new section, 24-c, the utility intervenor reimbursement. This bill also amends the State Finance Law by adding a new section 97-uuuu which establishes the utility intervenor account.
This legislation would allow groups of individuals or not-for-profit organizations that represent residential or small business customers to apply for reimbursement for reasonable costs (such as advocate fees and expert witnesses) in proceedings of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Presently it is difficult for even the most engaged customer to participate in PSC proceedings due to the time and location of hearings. The proceedings occur mid-morning on weekdays when most customers and small business owners are at work, which makes it hard for desired participants to intervene in proceedings.
For low-income customers who wish to intervene in proceedings, it can be a significant burden to take time off of work or find childcare in order to attend a hearing. If an intervening party needs to contract and retain an advocate or expert witness to meaningfully participate in the proceeding, that can prevent barriers to participation. This legislation allows individuals and small business customers the opportunity to apply for an award of compensation if they seek active party status and demonstrate that participation would result in significant financial hardship.
As the State begins to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the PSC will be at the center as they regulate electricity, natural gas and steam. Ensuring that all communities and stakeholders can weigh in as we transition to a future with cleaner energy is a critical component of a just transition. This legislation provides that assurance through the establishment of intervenor reimbursements.
Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial
Memo #: 22