The Department of Public Service has a broad mandate to ensure access to safe, reliable utility service at just and reasonable rates. The Department is the staff arm of the Public Service Commission. The Commission regulates the state's electric, gas, steam, telecommunications,and water utilities. The Commission also oversees the cable industry. The Commission is charged by law with responsibility for setting rates and ensuring that adequate service is provided by New York's utilities. In addition, the Commission exercises jurisdiction over the siting of major gas and electric transmission facilities and has responsibility for ensuring the safety of natural gas and liquid petroleum pipelines.
Department staff represents all ratepayers and the public interest in Commission proceedings, sets service and operating standards for utilities, and administers regulations issued by the Commission. Staff responsibilities include advising the Commission on all decisions it must make in matters such as rate determinations, utility financing, and certificates of environmental compatibility and public need; representing the Commission in state and federal proceedings that have an impact on New York consumers and a bearing on how the Commission carries out its legislative mandate; representing the Commission in state and federal court proceedings; developing and implementing state regulatory and energy policies; receiving, investigating and resolving complaints on billing, services, or other utility practices; and inspecting and reviewing utility equipment and apparatus necessary for rendering service to the public.
Bipartisan by law since 1970, the Commission consists of up to seven 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, designated by the Governor, is the chief executive officer of the Department. The Department is organized into 9 offices:
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