New York Consolidated Laws, Public Service Law - PBS § 25-a. Combination gas and electric corporations;  administrative sanctions;  recovery of penalties

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Notwithstanding sections twenty-four and twenty-five of this article:  1. Every combination gas and electric corporation and the officers thereof shall adhere to every provision of this chapter and every order or regulation adopted under authority of this chapter so long as the same shall be in force.

2. (a) The commission shall have the authority to assess a civil penalty against a combination gas and electric corporation and the officers thereof subject to the jurisdiction, supervision, or regulation pursuant to this chapter in an amount as set forth in this section.  In determining the amount of any penalty to be assessed pursuant to this section, the commission shall consider:  (i) the seriousness of the violation for which a penalty is sought;  (ii) the nature and extent of any previous violations for which penalties have been assessed against the corporation or officer;  (iii) whether there was knowledge of the violation;  (iv) the gross revenues and financial status of the corporation;  and (v) such other factors as the commission may deem appropriate and relevant.  The remedies provided by this subdivision are in addition to any other remedies provided in law.

(b) Whenever the commission has reason to believe that a combination gas and electric corporation or such officers thereof should be subject to imposition of a civil penalty as set forth in this subdivision, it shall notify such corporation or officer.  Such notice shall include, but shall not be limited to:  (i) the date and a brief description of the facts and nature of each act or failure to act for which such penalty is proposed;  (ii) a list of each statute, regulation or order that the commission alleges has been violated;  and (iii) the amount of each penalty that the commission proposes to assess.

(c) Whenever the commission has reason to believe that a combination gas and electric corporation or such officers thereof should be subject to imposition of a civil penalty or penalties as set forth in this subdivision, the commission shall hold a hearing to demonstrate why the proposed penalty or penalties should be assessed against such combination gas and electric corporation or such officers.

3. Any combination gas and electric corporation determined by the commission to have failed to reasonably comply as shown by a preponderance of the evidence with a provision of this chapter, regulation or an order adopted under authority of this chapter so long as the same shall be in force shall forfeit a sum not exceeding the greater of one hundred thousand dollars or two one-hundredths of one percent of the annual intrastate gross operating revenue of the corporation, not including taxes paid to and revenues collected on behalf of government entities, constituting a civil penalty for each and every offense and, in the case of a continuing violation, each day shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense.

4. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision three of this section, any such combination gas and electric corporation determined by the commission to have failed to reasonably comply with a provision of this chapter, or an order or regulation adopted under the authority of this chapter specifically for the protection of human safety or prevention of significant damage to real property, including, but not limited to, the commission's code of gas safety regulations shall, if it is determined by the commission by a preponderance of the evidence that such safety violation caused or constituted a contributing factor in bringing about:  (a) a death or personal injury;  or (b) damage to real property in excess of fifty thousand dollars, forfeit a sum not to exceed the greater of:

(i) two hundred fifty thousand dollars or three one-hundredths of one percent of the annual intrastate gross operating revenue of the corporation, not including taxes paid to and revenues collected on behalf of government entities, whichever is greater, constituting a civil penalty for each separate and distinct offense;  provided, however, that for purposes of this paragraph, each day of a continuing violation shall not be deemed a separate and distinct offense.  The total period of a continuing violation, as well as every distinct violation, shall be similarly treated as a separate and distinct offense for purposes of this paragraph;  or

(ii) the maximum forfeiture determined in accordance with subdivision three of this section.

5. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision three or four of this section, a combination gas and electric corporation determined by the commission to have failed to reasonably comply by a preponderance of the evidence with a provision of this chapter, or an order or regulation adopted under authority of this chapter, designed to protect the overall reliability and continuity of electric service, including but not limited to the restoration of electric service following a major outage event or emergency, shall forfeit a sum not to exceed the greater of:

(a) five hundred thousand dollars or four one-hundredths of one percent of the annual intrastate gross operating revenue of the corporation, not including taxes paid to and revenues collected on behalf of government entities, whichever is greater, constituting a civil penalty for each separate and distinct offense;  provided, however, that for purposes of this paragraph each day of a continuing violation shall not be deemed a separate and distinct offense.  The total period of a continuing violation, as well as every distinct violation shall be similarly treated as a separate and distinct offense for purposes of this paragraph;  or

(b) the maximum forfeiture determined in accordance with subdivision three of this section.

6. Any officer of any combination gas and electric corporation determined by the commission to have violated the provisions of subdivision three, four, or five of this section, and who knowingly violates a provision of this chapter, regulation or an order adopted under authority of this chapter so long as the same shall be in force shall forfeit a sum not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars constituting a civil penalty for each and every offense and, in the case of a continuing violation, each day shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense.

7. Any such assessment may be compromised or discontinued by the commission.  All moneys recovered pursuant to this section, together with the costs thereof, shall be remitted to, or for the benefit of, the ratepayers in a manner to be determined by the commission.

8. Upon a failure by a combination gas and electric corporation or officer to remit any penalty assessed by the commission pursuant to this section, the commission, through its counsel, may institute an action or special proceeding to collect the penalty in a court of competent jurisdiction.

9. Any payment made by a combination gas and electric corporation or the officers thereof as a result of an assessment as provided in this section, and the cost of litigation and investigation related to any such assessment, shall not be recoverable from ratepayers.

10. In construing and enforcing the provisions of this chapter relating to penalties, the act of any director, officer, agent or employee of a combined gas and electric corporation acting within the scope of his or her official duties or employment shall be deemed to be the act of such corporation.

11. It shall be a violation of this chapter should a director, officer or employee of a public utility company, corporation, person acting in his or her official duties or employment, or an agent acting on behalf of an employer take retaliatory personnel action such as discharge, suspension, demotion, penalization or discrimination against an employee for reporting a violation of a provision of this chapter of an order or regulation adopted under the authority of this chapter, including, but not limited to, those governing safe and adequate service, protection of human safety or prevention of significant damage to real property, including, but not limited to, the commission's code of gas safety.  Nothing in this subdivision shall be deemed to diminish the rights, privileges or remedies of any employee under any other law or regulation, including but not limited to article twenty-C of the labor law and section seventy-five-b of the civil service law , or under any collective bargaining agreement or employment contract.

Cite this article: FindLaw.com - New York Consolidated Laws, Public Service Law - PBS § 25-a. Combination gas and electric corporations;  administrative sanctions;  recovery of penalties - last updated January 01, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ny/public-service-law/pbs-sect-25-a.html


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