New York has amended the Public Service Law (PSL), and submeterers soon will need to comply with four additional requirements, three of which take effect on January 1, 2024.

Electricity usage in multi-unit residential buildings (e.g., rental apartment, condominium, cooperative) can be metered in three ways: mastermetering, direct metering, and submtering. When a building chooses to submeter electricity, electricity is received through a utility-owned mastermeter, but electricity use in each unit is measured by building-owned submeters. Following the New York State Public Service Commission’s (PSC) required approval, the building owner then bills submetered electric charges to residents based on their actual consumption.

We recommend our submetering clients, other multi-unit residential building owners who submeter electricity, and submetering reading and billing companies conduct a prompt review of the PSL updates summarized below to assess whether any practices or documents need to be updated to ensure submeterers are in compliance with these new amendments to the PSL.

  1. PSL § 40 (1) – This amendment changes the rules governing voluntary third-party billing notifications. Specifically, submeterers must permit residential customers to voluntarily designate a third party to receive notice of: (1) total amounts due, (2) amounts past due, (3) amounts of any payments paid by or on behalf of the residential customer, and (4) copies of all notices relating to service termination or collection of amounts due. The designated third party must indicate in writing a willingness to receive these notices. Further, the residential customer may opt to continue to receive such notices in addition to the designated third party.
    Takes effect: June 19, 2024
    Previous version of the provision: Under the prior version of this provision, residential customers could voluntarily designate third parties to receive copies of only notices relating to termination of service or collection of amounts due.
    Action required: To comply with this new, broader version of the law, submeterer’s HEFPA disclosures likely need to be updated and filed with the PSC. We can assist submeterers with this process.
  2. PSL § 44 (7) – This new subdivision requires submeterers to provide, as part of every billing issuance, the prior two years of: (1) the monthly usage of the customer, (2) the monthly unit charges for usage, and (3) the monthly billing charge amount to the customer. This information must be provided in both graph and written form. If a tenant does not have two years of historic data at that address, submeterers must utilize data of the prior customer at the same address, if available.
    Takes effect: Jan. 1, 2024
    Action required: Submetered invoices will likely need to be updated to comply with this requirement. Note that Governor Hochul’s approval memorandum attached to this provision also suggests the New York State Legislature (State Legislature) will further amend PSL § 44 (7) when it is back in session after the New Year to reduce the required historic showing from 2 years to only 13 months.
  3. PSL § 41 (1) – Under this amendment, submeterers are prohibited from charging residential customers for electric service rendered more than two months prior to the mailing of the customer’s first bill.
    Takes effect: Jan. 1, 2024
    Previous version of this provision: Under the prior version of this provision, submeterers were permitted to charge residential customers for electric service rendered up to six months prior to the mailing of the first bill.
    Action required: It is important to note this restriction going forward. Governor Hochul’s approval memorandum suggests the State Legislature will further amend this (as well as § 41-a, outlined immediately below) when it is back in session after the New Year, changing the two-month requirement to three months.
  4. PSC § 41-a – This new provision mirrors the above amendment except that it applies the two-month limitation to nonresidential customers as well.
    Takes effect: Jan. 1, 2024

If you need assistance with complying with these new amendments or other energy-related matters, please contact our New York Energy Industry Team. Attorneys John T. McManus and Aubrey Ohanian can be reached at jmcmanus@harrisbeach.com and aohanian@harrisbeach.com, or reach out through the Harris Beach attorney with whom you most frequently work.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.