Recommended Best Practices Regarding Public Service Law section 15



The Commission is required to ensure that the services provided by companies subject to its supervision are safe and adequate, and offered at just and reasonable rates. Companies are aware that the services provided are critical to residential and business customers. It is essential, therefore, that employees, agents, attorneys and officers of each company and employees of the Department of Public Service (“Department”) carry out their respective duties and responsibilities with integrity, and without improper influences that can be brought to bear through the improper offering or giving of gifts of any kind.

The following are recommended best practices that companies are encouraged to employ in order to ensure that its officers, attorneys, agents and employees are informed of Public Service Law §15 when interacting with employees of the Department.
  • A company subject to the Commission’s supervision should have a Code of Business Conduct or other policy for its employees that will address the company’s ethical standards.
  • The company should inform an employee, whose duties and responsibilities include interacting with Department employees, about the prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15 upon such employee’s hiring.
  • The company should initially inform its attorneys, officers and agents who are not employees, but whose duties and responsibilities include interacting with Department employees, about the prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15 at the commencement of the term of engagement. The company may also wish to stipulate the prohibition in its employment agreements.
  • The company should provide ethics training to its employees, attorneys, officers and agents on a regular basis, in a mode determined by the company, regarding the prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15.
  • The company should designate at least one individual as a point of contact to answer employees’ questions regarding, among other issues as determined by the company, the prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15.
  • The company is encouraged to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with Public Service Law §15, e.g. establishing internal controls.

Working with the companies to achieve a common goal of compliance with Public Service Law §15, the Department will take the following steps:
  • The Department will provide a link on its public website to these best practices and a training module regarding the prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15.
  • Companies may use the training module to inform its employees, officers, attorneys and agents about the prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15.
  • The Department’s Ethics Officer will ensure that training is provided to Department employees on an annual basis that will include a component on prohibitions set forth in Public Service Law §15.
  • The Department’s Ethics Officer will respond to inquiries from companies concerning the application of Public Service Law §15 regarding interactions between company employees and Department employees