92. Rate schedules. 1. Every telegraph corporation and every telephone corporation shall print and file with the commission schedules showing all rates, rentals and charges for service of each and every kind by or over its line between points in this state and between each point upon its line and all points upon every line leased or operated by it and between each point upon its line or upon any line leased or operated by it and all points upon the line of any other telegraph or telephone corporation whenever a through service or joint rate shall have been established between any two points. If no joint rate over a through line has been established the several corporations in such through line shall file with the commission the separately established rates and charges applicable where through service is afforded. Such schedule shall plainly state the places between which telephone or telegraph service, or both, will be rendered and shall also state separately all charges and all privileges or facilities granted or allowed and any rules or regulations or forms of contract which may in any wise change, affect or determine any or the aggregate of the rates, rentals or charges for the service rendered. Such schedule shall be plainly printed and kept open to public inspection. The commission shall have the power to prescribe the form of every such schedule and may from time to time prescribe, by order, changes in the form thereof. The commission shall also have power to establish rules and regulations for keeping such schedules open to public inspection and may from time to time modify the same. Every telegraph corporation and telephone corporation shall file with the commission as and when required by it a copy of any contract, agreement or arrangement in writing with any other telegraph corporation or telephone corporation or with any other corporation, association or person relating in any way to the construction, maintenance or use of a telegraph line or telephone line or service by or rates and charges over or upon any such telegraph line or telephone line.
2. (a) No change shall be made in any rate, charge or rental, or joint rate, charge or rental applicable to regulated basic services, switched carrier access services, charges for interconnection between local exchange carriers, and toll services within a local access and transport area which shall have been filed by a telegraph corporation or telephone corporation hereinafter in this subdivision called a utility in compliance with this chapter, except after thirty days' notice to the commission and to each county, city, town and village served by such utility which had filed with such utility within the prior twelve months a request for such notice and shall be affected by such change and publication of a notice to the public of such proposed change once in each week for four successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in each county containing territory affected by the proposed change. No other change shall be made in any rate, charge or rental, or joint rate, charge or rental filed by a utility, except after ten business days' notice to the commission and publication of one notice at least ten business days prior to the effective date of the change in a newspaper of general circulation in each county affected by the proposed change. Such notices shall plainly state the changes proposed and the time when they go into effect. For the purpose of this paragraph, "regulated basic services" are defined as: residential, individual business, and public access line network access, connection charges for such network access, local usage, local coin usage rates, tone dialing, access to emergency services, statewide relay services, operator assistance services, director listings, and provisions that affect privacy protections.
(b) All proposed changes shall be shown by filing new schedules or shall be plainly indicated upon the schedules filed and in force at the time and kept open to public inspection. The commission, for good cause shown, may, except in the case of major changes, allow changes in rates, charges or rentals to take effect prior to the end of such thirty-day period or such ten-day period and without publication of notice to the public under such conditions as it may prescribe. All such changes shall be immediately indicated upon its schedules by such utility. The commission may delegate to the secretary of the commission its authority to approve a change to a schedule postponing the effective date of such schedule previously filed with the commission and for good cause shown to allow the postponement to take effect prior to the end of such thirty-day period or ten-day period and without publication of notice to the public.
(c) For the purpose of this subdivision, "major changes" shall mean an increase in rates, charges and rentals which would increase the aggregate revenues of the applicant more than the greater of five hundred thousand dollars or two and one-half percent, but shall not include changes in rates, charges or rentals allowed to go into effect by the commission or made by the utility pursuant to an order of the commission after hearings held upon notice to the public. If an increase in rates, charges and rentals would increase the aggregate revenues of the applicant by less than five hundred thousand dollars, the commission may hold a hearing pursuant to paragraph (e) of this subdivision and/or provide a statement pursuant to subdivision four of this section.
(d) No utility shall charge, demand, collect or receive a different compensation for any service rendered or to be rendered than the charge applicable as specified in its schedule on file and in effect. Nor shall any utility refund or remit directly or indirectly any portion of the rate or charge so specified, nor extend to any person any form of contract or agreement, or any rule or regulation, or any privilege or facility, except such as are specified in its schedule filed and in effect and regularly and uniformly extended to all persons under like circumstances for the like or substantially similar service.
(e) Whenever there shall be filed with the commission by any utility, any schedule stating a new rate or charge, or any change in any form of contract or agreement or any rule or regulation relating to any rate, charge or service, or in any general privilege or facility, the commission may at any time within sixty days from the date when such schedule would or has become effective, either upon complaint or upon its own initiative, and, if it so orders, without answer or other formal pleading by the utility, but upon reasonable notice, hold a hearing concerning the propriety of a change proposed by the filing. If such change is a major change the commission shall hold such a hearing. Pending such hearing and decision thereon, the commission, upon filing with such schedule and delivering to the utility, a statement in writing of its reasons therefor, may suspend the operation of such schedule, but not for a longer period than one hundred and twenty days beyond the time when it would otherwise go into effect. After full hearing, whether completed before or after it goes into effect, the commission may make such order in reference thereto as would be proper in a proceeding begun after the rate, charge, form of contract or agreement, rule, regulation, service, general privilege or facility has become effective.. If such hearing cannot be concluded within the period of suspension as above stated, the commission may extend the suspension for a further period, not exceeding six months. The commission may, as authorized by section ninety-seven of this article, establish temporary rates, charges or rentals, for any period of suspension under this section.
(f) At any hearing involving a change or a proposed change of rates, the burden of proof to show that the change or proposed change if proposed by the utility, or that the existing rate, if it is proposed to reduce the rate, is just and reasonable shall be upon the utility; and the commission may give to the hearing and decision of such questions preference over all other questions pending before it.
(g) During the suspension by the commission as above provided, the schedule, rates, charges, form of contract or agreement, rule, regulation, service, general privilege or facility in force when the suspended schedule, rate, charge, form of contract, rule, regulation, service, general privilege or facility was filed shall continue in force unless the commission shall establish a temporary rate.
3. No telegraph corporation or telephone corporation subject to the provisions of this chapter shall, directly or indirectly, give any free or reduced service, or any free pass or frank for the transmission of messages by either telephone or telegraph between points within this state, except to its officers, employees, agents, pensioners, surgeons, physicians, attorneys-at-law and their families; to persons or corporations exclusively engaged in charitable and eleemosynary work and ministers of religions; to officers and employees of other telegraph corporations and telephone corporations, railroad corporations and street railroad corporations. But this subdivision shall not apply to state, municipal or federal contracts.
3-a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision three of this section, the division of military and naval affairs, in cooperation with the office of general services, shall negotiate with a telephone corporation or telephone corporations for the provision of telephone service at bulk rates to residents of this state in military service, as defined in section three hundred one of the military law, and their families, which shall include spouses, domestic partners, children, and parents and such others as meet criteria established by the division.
4. The commission shall require each telephone corporation providing local exchange service in the state to provide with any application for a major rate change, as defined in subdivision two of this section, a statement of the effect the proposed rate change is expected to have on the goal of universal service to residential customers. The commission may require such a statement with respect to any other application for a rate change and shall specifically consider any such statement in its rate determination.
5. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision three of this section, the commission may authorize a telephone corporation to offer free or reduced basic service for a limited period of time to introduce a present or potential customer to a service not previously received by the customer.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions one and three of this section, a telephone corporation may offer free or reduced services other than basic services for a period of time to be determined by the telephone corporation to a new customer or to an existing customer for the purpose of inducing the customer to maintain such services.
6. The commission shall provide that any net decrease in a telephone corporation's real property tax expense resulting from the provisions of a chapter of the laws of nineteen hundred eighty-seven phasing out the taxation of certain property subject to such tax shall inure to the benefit of the ratepayers of such corporation.
7. The commission shall provide that any net decrease in a telephone company's real property tax expense resulting from the provisions of the chapter of the laws of nineteen hundred ninety-five which added this subdivision shall inure to the benefit of the ratepayers of such company.
Last modified: September 11, 2016