- The Department of Public Service (DPS) staff offers various Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods to help disputants by encouraging cooperation in negotiations.
- Complaints about your residential or commercial utility service are not handled via the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process. These complaints will be handled through the Departments Office of Consumer Services. File a complaint about your utility service.
- Certain DPS staff members are trained in ADR procedures used to assist parties in resolving issues brought before the Public Service Commission or the Department of Public Service (DPS).
- Public Service Law (PSL) Section 15 requires confidentiality by any agent or employee of the DPS participating in a mediated proceeding. The neutrals assigned to an ADR procedure are obliged to protect the confidences of the parties (16 NYCRR 3.9).
- Some disputes will continue to be handled through existing dispute resolution procedures:
- Uniform Business Practices (UBPs), §8 contains specific procedures for Dispute Resolution among energy utilities, direct customers, and energy services companies (ESCOs).
- Business affecting/customer impacting disputes in the telecommunications area will be addressed through the Expedited Dispute Resolution (EDR) process in place for telecommunications carriers.
- Complaints about your utility service will be handled through the Department's Office of Consumer Services.
- If you are seeking formal action by the Public Service Commission, you must file a petition with the Secretary to the Public Service Commission. Such actions will not be addressed through this dispute resolution process.
- Parties interested in using ADR procedures should fill out the ADR Petition Form and submit electronically or by hard copy to: Acting Secretary Jeffrey Cohen, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. A copy shall be provided to all parties to the dispute.
- All requests for Dispute Resolution Services should state, in the subject line of the letter to the Secretary, "Request for ADR Services."
- Parties should identify the parties to the dispute, the steps taken to resolve their dispute, and the specific type of dispute resolution process being requested. Parties should consult this web site for ADR services offered by the Department.
- Parties will be advised whether the Commission will be able to assist them in the manner requested within 10 days.
- Disputes among utilities, ESCOs, and direct customers shall follow the UBP process.
- Business affecting/customer impacting disputes shall follow the Expedited Dispute Resolution (EDR) process in place for disputes between telecommunications carriers.
- Consumer complaints about Utility Service shall be addressed to the Office of Consumer Services for resolution. File a complaint about your utility service.
- Requests for formal action by the Public Service Commission must be made by filing a petition with the Secretary to the Public Service Commission.
- To preserve and possibly enhance relationships among the constituent groups in the various utility industries.
- To ensure fairness.
- To facilitate and clarify issues through open discussion.
- To develop creative solutions.
- To promote mutually satisfactory resolutions.
- To allow for a more efficient process.
- Resolve problems in a constructive manner.
- Help parties find common ground and discover solutions that provide mutual gain.
- Greater likelihood of compliance as disputants craft resolution rather than having decisions imposed.
- Parties are more likely to comply with a Commission Order adopting terms of a joint proposal and achieve satisfaction when they contribute and share responsibility for its creation.
- Good working relationships are created among parties likely to interact with one another in the future.
- Avoid costly and extensive litigation.
Assisted negotiations: Use of a facilitator to assist parties in achieving acceptable solutions.
- Participate in good faith (share thoughts, concerns, and relevant information with the group).
- Evaluate ideas, not people.
- Comply with ground rules established by the group or neutral.
- Maintain confidentiality of communications.
- Complete action steps or assignments in a timely manner.
- Be knowledgeable concerning the process (training will be offered - watch these pages for details).
- Offer an appropriate understanding of the process being used.
- Adhere to mediator/arbitrator ethical standards.
- Foster participation by all parties.
- Help parties stay on task.
- Offer to assist parties with technical and procedural expertise.
- Help parties maintain control of the process and its outcomes.
- Assist parties in producing written agreements.
- Make recommendations to the parties when complete resolution or settlement cannot be reached.
- Be trained in ADR and certified as a practitioner by the Department.
- Present the results of mediated/arbitrated disputes to the Commission for action, as appropriate.
See other web pages in the category: About the PSC,
See other web pages in the category: Complaint Filing and Dispute Resolution,
See other web pages in the category: Consumer Information