Judith Lee, Executive Deputy
Bipartisan by law since 1970, the Commission consists of up to five members, each appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate for a term of six years or to complete an unexpired term of a former Commissioner. The Chair is designated by the Governor. The Commission is assisted by the Department of Public Service. The Commission Chair is the chief executive officer of the Department.
The Commission's primary responsibilities are to ensure that utility customers receive safe and adequate services at just and reasonable rates.
Agency and Government Affairs
Michael Corso, Director
The Office of Agency and Government Affairs is responsible for external communications for both the Department of Public Service and the Public Service Commission. The Office also provides direct support to the Commission, as well as manages both legislative and government affairs. The Office portfolio includes – the Office of the Secretary and the Office of Public Affairs. The Office of Agency and Government Affairs reports directly to the Chair.
Office of Accounting, Audits and Finance
Doris D. Stout, Director
The Office of Accounting, Audits and Finance performs financial audits and examinations relative to utility rate changes, including mergers/acquisitions, fuel clause operations, prudence reviews, and state and federal tax changes. The Office also reviews petitions seeking specialized accounting treatment and approvals to issue financial securities.The Office participates on interdisciplinary teams in all utility industries to assist in ensuring that regulatory actions at Federal, State and local levels align with market conditions. In addition, the Office conducts management and operations audits of utility construction programs, planning and operational efficiencies.
Office of Administration
Sorelle Brauth, Director
The Office of Administration is comprised of four sections which provide administrative support to and operational management of the Department.
The Human Resources Management section oversees all programs and policies relating to employment of Department personnel. Responsibilities include staff development and performance, employee relations, classification and compensation, and affirmative action.
The Information Services section develops and supports the Department's hardware and software network. Key functions include systems security, planning, development and maintenance; user training and technological support; and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services.
The Administrative Management section provides organizational and administrative services to support internal management and Commission operations. This includes implementation of administrative policies; records, contract, and telecommunications management; and space planning, printing, mail, and other office services.
The Finance and Budget section oversees and ensures compliance with all Department fiscal policies and procedures. Key activities include developing and monitoring budget and spending plans; administering payroll, employee travel, contractor and vendor payments; revenue collections; and coordinating the Department's Internal Control Program in concert with the Internal Control Officer.
Office of Consumer Policy
Douglas Elfner, Director
The Office of Consumer Policy focuses on consumer policy matters of concern to the Commission, including those issues raised in rate cases and proceedings, such as low-income programs, service quality, Smart Grid, and other policy-related development. This office will maintain responsibility for outreach and education, metering, submetering, and consumer advocacy.
The Consumer Advocacy Program advocates for residential customers in cases and proceedings, as well as through ongoing oversight of utility customer service. Program efforts include the establishment of service quality incentive mechanisms and low-income assistance programs in utility rate plans, review of submetering petitions, slamming investigations, review of applications for new metering devices, certification of utility and manufacturer meter testing equipment and standards, and inspection of meter testing facilities.
The Consumer Education Program delivers statewide outreach and education programming designed to provide pertinent and timely plain-language information in user-friendly forms, and to establish and maintain a two-way dialogue with utility customers. Program efforts include a grassroots outreach effort responsible for over 100 events annually, the AskPSC.com consumer Web site, plain language publications, the toll-free Opinion Line and AskPSC-1 information numbers, public awareness campaigns, outage investigations, and public involvement programs in support of cases and proceedings.
The Economic Development section promotes business expansion and retention through the application of utility economic development programs. It also provides dispute resolution assistance to industrial and large commercial businesses in resolving disputes with utilities.
Office of Consumer Services
Sandra S. Sloane, Director
Consumer Complaints - 1-800-342-3377
The Office of Consumer Services assists consumers in resolving complaints with their regulated utility company and ensures that utilities comply with consumer protection rules and regulations.
Its Complaint Handling Section ensures that the Department and the utility companies it regulates are responsive to the needs and concerns of individual consumers and to the public. The Office provides assistance to consumers in resolving disputes with utilities. The Office responds to customers who call, write or visit one of its offices located in Albany, Buffalo and New York City to lodge a complaint, seek a response to an inquiry or to register an opinion. It also provides an informal hearing process and an appeals process for consumers or businesses who are not satisfied with the initial complaint determination. In addition staff collects and analyses statistical information with regard to customer complaints.
The Complaint Analysis Section investigates complaints and renders a decision based on applicable State laws, commission rules, regulations, orders and opinions, and utility tariffs.
Office of Electric, Gas and Water
Rajendra Addepalli, Director
The Office of Electric, Gas and Water is responsible for overseeing the operations of electric, gas, steam, and water utilities under Commission jurisdiction to ensure that they provide safe and adequate service at fair and reasonable rates, with emphasis on technical and operational matters. The Office also monitors these utilities to ensure that they operate in accordance with Commission and statutory requirements.
Office of Energy Efficiency and the Environment
Colleen Gerwitz, Director
The Office of Energy Efficiency and the Environment (OEEE) is responsible for developing and pursuing the Public Service Commission's energy efficiency initiatives and ongoing renewable energy initiatives. OEEE examines critical energy efficiency program design options evaluating near and longer term considerations and impacts, including cost-effectiveness, and whether certain types of programs are best provided on a statewide basis by the New York State Energy Development Authority or are more suited to delivery by individual utilities. Additionally, OEEE develops utility-related environmental policy, and oversees the environmental compliance, siting, and certification process for proposed generation and transmission facilities under Article VII and Article 10 of the Public Service Law; and participates in, and conducts State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) reviews, as required.
Office of General Counsel
Kimberly Harriman, Acting General Counsel
The Office of General Counsel is responsible for representing and appearing on behalf of the people of the state in all actions or proceedings involving any question related to the Public Service Law or within the jurisdiction of the Commission. The General Counsel provides the Chairman and Commission with legal advice, represents the agency in court and before federal agencies, advises Department personnel on legal issues relating to utility regulation and prepares proposed regulations and legislation.
Office of Hearings and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Elizabeth H. Liebschutz, Chief Administrative Law Judge
The Office of Hearings and Alternative Dispute Resolution consists of Administrative Law Judges and support staff assigned to all proceedings in which hearings are held and other cases and disputes. Judges oversee development of the official case record, analyze arguments and evidence offered by parties, offer advice and recommendations about how issues should be resolved by the Commission, and draft Commission decisions. Judges also participate in a broad range of cases or other disputes in which Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques may be employed to help interested parties reach agreement among themselves about how the issues presented should be resolved by the Commission.
Office of Regulatory Economics
Mark Reeder, Director
The Office of Regulatory Economics concentrates generally on traditional economic forecasts and analyses required in utility rate and other proceedings; marginal costing and improving retail price signals in regulated settings; activities that focus on monitoring, analyzing and improving the operation of competitive markets; and analyses related to incentive rate-making, market deficiencies, and the efficient achievement of environmental goals.
Office of Telecommunications
Chad Hume, Director
The Office of Telecommunications is responsible for overseeing the performance of the telecommunication and cable television companies under Commission jurisdiction. The Office is divided into two sections as follows:
The Carrier Operations section, led by Greg Pattenaude, assures that the prices, terms, and conditions of services to telephone and cable consumers are reasonable and adhere to Commission policies.
The section is responsible for issues that arise between competing telephone companies and matters involving multiple carriers. It manages the expedited dispute resolution process for resolving intercarrier operational issues and other complaints that may be service affecting. It reviews certification applications, proposed mergers and acquisitions of companies, handles complaints, reviews retail tariffs, and monitors federal matters. The Municipal Assistance group within the section also provides assistance to cities, towns and villages -- as well as cable television operators -- on cable television issues. This includes assistance with cable franchises, the approval of franchises, and franchise transfers, Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access issues and the resolution of disputes between municipal authorities and cable television operators.
The Network Reliability section, led by Mike Rowley, evaluates telecommunications systems to ensure compliance with technical and safety standards and provides real-time reporting of outages affecting telecommunications networks in support of the state's overall emergency response effort and monitors the restoration of networks following emergencies and natural disasters. The Network Reliability section ensures that the companies provide safe and quality service to consumers. In addition, the section conducts field investigations involving telecommunications outside plant, enforces underground facilities protection, and oversees other technical network issues.
Policy and Legal Affairs
Jeffrey Cohen, Deputy
Serves as special counsel and senior policy advisor to the Department and the Commission on matters related to utility regulation, works with advisory staff regarding the Department’s strategic planning, and also advises and make recommendations to the Commission on policy, regulatory, and legal matters, and oversees the Office of the Secretary.
James Denn, Director
The Public Affairs Office serves as an advocate for the Commission's and Department's utility regulatory policies, programs and initiatives. It conducts an integrated internal and external communications program, including a new Public Involvement Program. The office strives to establish a framework to foster communication with the public and other constituencies through coordination of several different agency activities. Further, it ensures that such efforts accurately represent the Commission's decisions and the Department's advocacy on behalf of consumers.
Secretary to the Commission
Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary to the Commission, Ethics Officer
The Secretary provides administrative support to the Commission and is responsible for document management within the Department of Public Service. The Secretary provides for coordination of the many elements that go into ensuring all parties a fair opportunity to be heard in Commission proceedings and ensures utility and staff compliance with Commission orders and directives. The Secretary serves as a secretariat for the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment. The Secretary's Office also serves as a clearinghouse for a variety of requests for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The Department Ethics Officer provides guidance to Commissioners and Department Staff concerning ethical responsibilities as Department employees and as employees of New York State, as set forth in the Public Service Law, Public Officers Law, and other relevant statutes, regulations and policies. The Department Ethics Officer is available to consider inquiries from the public and regulated entities concerning the ethical responsibilities of the Department, Commissioners and Department employees.
John J. Sennett, Chief
The Utility Security Section, within the Office of Electric, Gas and Water, monitors utility security planning, implementation and performance; evaluating the effectiveness of both physical and cyber security systems; analyzing security-related incidents; monitoring technical developments related to infrastructure security; and coordinates the Department's utility security oversight with the broader critical infrastructure protection responsibilities of the NY State Office of Homeland Security. The Section also continues to evaluate emerging technologies for continually improving security.
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