Tuesday, June 16, 2009

PSC Seeks Comments on Petition of Hazel Towers Tenants to Halt Submetering

Tenants at Hazel Towers, a former Mitchell-Lama housing project in the Bronx, petitioned the Public Service Commission to halt submetering previously authorized by a PSC Order that waives the general prohibition against resale of electric service. The Petition alleges noncompliance with the Home Energy Fair Practices Act and the Commission Order. See Hazel Towers Tenants Association’s Petition for Investigation and Remediation of Noncompliance with Prior Order for Vacatur or Modification of Order Establishing Terms and Conditions of Submetered Electric Service at Hazel Towers and for a Stay. PULP is representing the Hazel Towers Tenants Association (HTTA).

The Petition of the Hazel Towers Tenants Association maintains that no valid agreements exist between the landlord and tenants for providing electric service to the tenants at rates, terms and conditions approved by the PSC, and that the Commission cannot now retroactively approve charges for service not agreed to by the tenants and not provided in accordance with the terms and conditions in its prior Order. Some tenants were overcharged in six out of the first twelve months of submetering, which began in 2007. Tenants disputing their landlord's charges for electric service were not given notice of the opportunity for PSC decisions on their complaints, and were threatened with court action or arbitration of disputes before private arbitrators hired by the landlord. Tenants first complained to the PSC more than one year ago. See Hazel Towers Tenants Ask PSC to Act on Submetering Complaints, PULP Network May 6, 2009.

On June 6, 2009, the PSC issued a Notice Establishing Comment Period providing for comments from interested parties by July 15; reply comments are due by August 15. Comments are to be filed with PSC Secretary, Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling, at the Public Service Commission, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223 and electronically via email at Secretary@dps.state.ny.us.

For further information see "Top Ten Submetering Myths" and PULP's web page on submetering.

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