Utility Intervention Unit
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About

The Division of Consumer Protection’s Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) represents the interests of New York consumers before federal, state and local administrative and regulatory agencies engaged in the regulation of energy, water and telecommunication services.  The UIU participates in the deliberations of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as well as utility and energy-related interagency working groups, task forces and committees. The UIU analyzes filings, submits testimony and briefs, engages in settlement discussions and participates in evidentiary hearings in PSC and FERC regulatory proceedings and participates in NYISO governance.  The UIU also reaches out to local governments, not-for-profit corporations, and business to gain information and clarify issues on behalf of consumers.
 

What is a Utility Rate Case?

In New York State, a rate case is the formal process which allows regulated utilities to file a request to increase delivery rates.  A typical utility filing will include updates and proposals on how to handle issues such as property taxes, rates of return, depreciation costs, operation and maintenance expenses, rate design, reliability, low income and customer service.  The New York Public Service Law, requires a decision by the PSC to be made within 11 months from the original utility rate case filing date.  Within this timeframe, consumer advocates and the public may intervene and become a party to the case.  The typical rate case process is demonstrated below.  
 

Rate Case Process

rate case process flowchart

Overview of the rate case process flowchart: 
In order for a regulated utility company to change electric, natural gas, water, and steam delivery rates in New York State,  the company must prepare a rate case filing and submit it to the Public Service Commission (“Commission”).   The Utility Intervention Unit (“UIU”) will form a team of experts that will review the filing and intervene on behalf of residential and small commercial ratepayers.  Other interested parties (e.g., Department of Public Service, local municipal officials, and commercial and industrial groups) may also .  

Energy

Energy is essential to our everyday lives. In our modern society, energy is used for lighting, cooking, heating and air conditioning, communication and much more.  Delivering electricity and natural gas to New Yorkers homes and businesses requires complex delivery systems often with expensive capital investments which are borne by ratepayers.

Why is what we do important?
The Utility Intervention Unit (“UIU”) helps ensure that consumer concerns are considered in rate cases and policy matters in New York State.  As such, the UIU plays a significant role in shaping public utility regulatory issues that are before the Public Service Commission (“PSC”) (i.e., public policy and ratemaking issues) and delivers a strong commitment for the adoption of fair, just and reasonable rates for residential and small commercial consumers. 

Here are the cases we have been involved in:

Water

Water is essential for our survival.  Water utilities, through water supply systems, deliver clean, safe, reliable, and affordable water to their communities.  Water utilities also may operate wastewater systems and provide water to industrial consumers.  The infrastructure required to treat and delivery water requires extensive planning and continuous system upgrades and investments. 

Why is what we do important?
The New York Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) represents the interests of residential and small commercial consumers before the Public Service Commission during utility rate cases and during other policy-related regulatory proceedings in New York State.  The UIU is responsible to ensure that basic water service is provided at just and reasonable rates.  

Here are the cases we have been involved in:

 

Telecommunications

Telecommunications plays an important role in the everyday lives of consumers. The telecommunications industry is more expansive than it was in the past. It encompasses multiple service providers, including telephone companies, cable system providers, internet service providers, wireless carriers, and satellite operators.

Why is what we do important?
The Utility Intervention Unit (“UIU”) actively represents the interests of consumers of regulated landline service in proceedings before the Public Service Commission (“PSC”). UIU efforts help ensure that customers can access just and reasonable rates, that relevant consumer protections are followed, and that providers maintain quality service. 

With increased competition in the telecommunications industry, some consumers now have alternatives to traditional landline telephone service. UIU advocates on behalf of consumers regarding state regulation of cable television service and encourages providers of wireless telephone service to offer reliable, high quality, and cost effective service.


Here are the cases we have been involved in:

Consumer Education