Competitive Gas Market Summary



COMPETITION COMES TO YOU!

On March 14, 1996, the New York State Public Service Commission approved plans to allow residential, small commercial, business, and industrial customers the option to start buying their own natural gas supply from sources other than the traditional utility companies.

WHO WILL SELL YOU NATURAL GAS?


Either--

A Utility - A company that has traditionally provided and distributed natural gas and other customer and energy services.


Or--

A Non utility Supplier - A company, other than a utility, that provides natural gas.

Over time, customers may choose to purchase their gas from a non utility supplier or local utility. Through competition, it is expected that some customers may see savings reflected in their gas bills. Individual customers will receive different results depending on the supplier they choose.

CHOOSING TO STAY WITH YOUR CURRENT UTILITY

You can decide to continue to purchase gas from your utility. If you do so, the rates you pay will continue to be set by the Public Service Commission, as they are today.

Protections for residential and nonresidential customers: They will remain the same as provided by the State's Home Energy Fair Practices Act and the Commission's Nonresidential Rules. Other protections available in Federal and State Laws, rules and regulations for local transportation and delivery of service will not change.

CHOOSING A NON UTILITY SUPPLIER

If you elect to buy gas from a non utility supplier, the rates will be negotiated by you and this company. The utility will continue to charge and be responsible for the safe, reliable delivery of gas through its distribution system to your home or business. Always report any possible safety problems, such as a noticeable odor or gas leak, immediately to the utility's emergency number.

Protections for residential customers: A model copy of the contract you sign with the non utility supplier will have been filed with the Public Service Commission. This contract must identify the dispute process available to you if you are not satisfied with your service and provide the Commission's toll-free number.

In addition, your bills must be in clear and plain language; and, the non utility supplier must provider written notice to you 15 days before disconnection your service to allow you an opportunity to pay overdue bills or request service from another provider.

Protections for nonresidential customers: A model copy of the contract you sign with the non utility supplier will be filed with the Public Service Commission. This contract must identify the dispute process available to you if are not satisfied with your service.

WHY DOES NEW YORK NEED COMPETITION?

The New York State Public Service Commission actively supports policies which encourage competition in the utility market with innovative approaches that offer more choices to all customers -- residential, small commercial, business, and industrial -- and the possibility of better prices and services. Competitive markets are expected to produce positive economic results for consumers in general. The Commission's challenge during this transition to a competitive marketplace has been to create a framework that balances the needs of different customers and provides greater business opportunities in New York.

WHERE TO GO FOR ASSISTANCE

Regardless of who your supplier is, there will be complaint resolution procedures available if you need assistance with a billing or service problem.

If you are not satisfied with your utility service...
  • You should contact the utility company first.


If you are not satisfied with your non utility service...
  • You should contact the non utility supplier first.


All non utility suppliers will have a process in place to address complaints. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may want to consider assistance through available community dispute resolution services or other legal processes.

If the contract between you, the customer, and the non utility supplier is broken or dissolved...

The supply of gas will not be interrupted to your home or business because your utility will continue to serve you. The utility company is the only entity that has the ability to shut off your gas and it can only do so for reasons stated under its tariffs, the consumer protections provided by the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (if you are a residential customer), and the Commission's Nonresidential Rules (if you are a nonresidential customer).

You may request more information about these rules from the Public Service Commission.

MONITORING CUSTOMER SERVICE DURING THE TRANSITION

The New York State Public Service Commission will monitor the service customers receive during this transition period to ensure that they are adequately protected and informed. Commission staff will report back to the Commission as necessary.

The Public Service Commission is interested in your comments and would appreciate your input during this transition process. (See how to contact the Commission under the Getting More Information paragraph below.)

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about your choices in this new marketplace, please contact your utility company or a non utility supplier.

It is expected that non utility gas suppliers will advertise their services to consumers. Additionally, both the utility and the Public Service Commission will provide a list of non utility suppliers.

You may get additional information by writing to us at the following address:

New York State Public Service Commission,
Consumer Services Division,
3 Empire State Plaza,
Albany, NY 12223;

or by accessing the Public Service Commission's Website at http://www.dps.ny.gov or calling our toll-free information number at 1-888-ASKPSC-1.
If you would like to give us your opinion on the competition in the gas industry, call our toll-free number at 1-800-335-2120.