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THE ACT ESTABLISHING THE COMMISSION.
LAWS 1905, CHAPTER 737. AN ACT to establish a commission of gas and electricity with
power to regulate the price of gas and electric light and certain other electric services, and to provide for the control and supervision of gas, electric light and other electric corporations and making an appropriation therefor.
Became a law, June 3, 1905, with the approval of the Governor. Passed,
three-fifths being present.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
COMMISSION OF GAS AND ELECTRICITY ESTABLISHED. Section 1. The commission of gas and electricity is hereby established and shall possess the powers and perform the duties hereinafter specified.
DEFINITIONS; APPLICATION OF Act, Section 2. The word “commission " when used in this act means the commission of gas and electricity. The word “corporation” includes a company, association and joint-stock association. The word “municipality” includes a city, village, town or lighting district organized as provided by a general or special act. The word “person" includes an individual, firm or copartnership. This act shall not apply to railroad, telegraph or telephone corporations.
APPOINTMENT; TERMS OF OFFICE; VACANCIES. Section 3. The commission of gas and electricity shall consist of three commissioners to be appointed by the governor, hy and
with the advice and consent of the senate, one of whom shall be designated by the governor as chairman. Of the commissioners first appointed hereunder, one shall be appointed for a term of two years, one for a term of four years, and one for a term of six years, from the first day of June, nineteen hundred and five. Upon the expiration of such terms, the term of office of commissioners thereafter appointed shall be six years beginning on the first day of June in the year in which they are appointed. Each commissioner appointed hereunder shall hold office until his successor shall have been appointed, and shall have qualified. If a vacancy shall occur in any such office, otherwise than by expiration of term, the governor shall appoint a commissioner to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term.
OATH OF OFFICE; ELIGIBILITY OF COMMISSIONERS AND OFFICERS
OF COMMISSION. Section 4. Each commissioner and each person appointed to office by the commission shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the constitutional oath of office. No person shall be eligible to appointment or shall hold the office of commissioner, or be appointed by the commission to, or hold any office or position under the commission, who holds any official relation to any gas or electric light or power corporation, or who owns stock or bonds therein.
OFFICERS AND MEETINGS OF COMMISSION; OFFICIAL SEAL;
Section 5. The principal office of the commission shall be in the city of Albany, in rooms designated by the trustees of public buildings, and it may have a branch office in the city of New York, and one in the city of Buffalo. The commission shall meet at least once a month during the year at its office in Albany. The commission shall have an official seal, to be prepared by the secretary of state as provided by law, and its offices shall be supplied with necessary postage, stationery, office furniture and appliances, to be paid for as other expenses authorized by this act, and it shall have prepared for it by the state the necessary books, maps and statisties, incidentally necessary for the discharge of its duities.
QUORUM OF COMMISSION; POWERS OF SINGLE COMMISSIONER.
Section 6. Two of the commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business or the performance of any duty of the commission and may hold meetings thereof at any time or place within the state. All examinations or investigations made by the commission may be held and taken by and before any one of the commissioners, and the proceedings and decisions of such single commissioner, shall be deemed to be the proceedings and decisions of the conmission, when approved and confirmed
OFFICERS, CLERKS, INSPECTORS AND EMPLOYEES. Section 7. The commission may appoint such officers, clerks, inspectors, experts and employees as may be required to carry out the provisions of this act, subject to the provisions of the civil service law, and may prescribe their duties.
SALARIES AND EXPENSES.
Section 8. The annual salary of each commissioner shall be eight thousand dollars. The officers, clerks, inspectors, experts and other employees of the commission shall receive the compensation fixed by the commission. In the discharge of their official duties the commissioners shall have reimbursed to them the necessary traveling expenses and disbursements of themselves, their officers, clerks, inspectors, experts and other employees, not exceeding in the aggregate the sum of five hundred dollars per month. All salaries and disbursements shall be audited and allowed by the comptroller and paid monthly by the state treasurer upon the warrant of the comptroller.
GENERAL POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.
Section 9. Such commission shall:
1. Have the general supervision of all persons and corporations having authority under any general or special law to lay down or erect and maintain wires, pipes, and other fixtures in, over or under the streets, highways and public places of any municipality in this state, for the purpose of furnishing gas or of furnishing or transmitting electricity for light, heat or power.
2. Investigate and ascertain, from time to time, the quality of gas supplied by persons, corporations or municipalities; examine
the methods employed by such persons, corporations or municipalities in supplying gas and electricity for light, heat and power or in transmitting the same, and order such improvements as will best promote public interests, preserve the public health and protect those using such gas and electricity, and those employed in the manufacture and distribution thereof, or in the maintenance or operation of the works, wires, poles, lines and systems connected therewith.
3. Fix the standard of illuminating power and purity of gas manufactured and sold by persons, corporations and municipalities for lighting purposes, not less than that prescribed by law, and require the gas so manufactured and sold to equal the standard established by law or by it, and establish a standard of pressure at which gas shall be delivered, where such standard is not otherwise prescribed by law.
4. Have power, in its discretion, to prescribe methods of keeping accounts and books, to be observed by the persons, corporations and municipalities, engaged in the manufacture, sale and distribution of gas and electricity for light, heat or power.
5. Examine all persons, corporations and municipalities under its supervision, keep informed as to the methods employed by them in the transaction of their business, and see that their property is maintained and operated for the security and accommodation of the public and in compliance with the provisions of law and of their franchises and charters.
6. Require each corporation under its supervision to submit to it an annual report, verified by the oath of the president, treasurer or general manager thereof, showing in detail (1) the amount of its authorized capital stock, the amount issued and outstanding; (2) the amount of its authorized bonded indebtedness and the amount of its bonds issued and outstanding; (3) its receipts and expenditures during the preceding year; (4) the amount paid as dividends upon its stock and as interest upon its bonds; (5) the amount paid as salaries to its officers and as wages to its employees; (c) the location of its plant and system, with a full description of its property and franchises; and (7) such other facts pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the plant and system, and the affairs of such corporation as may be required by the commission. Such reports shall be in the form, cover the period, and be submitted at the time prescribed by the commission.
7. Make to the legislature an annual report containing the result (1) of examinations or investigations conducted by it, abstracts of reports of corporations made to it, (2) recommendations as to modifications of the laws pertaining to the affairs of corporations subject to its supervision, (3) such facts and explanations as will disclose the methods employed in the manu
facture, sale and distribution of gas and electricity for light, · heat and power, (4) suggestions as to the better protection of
public interests and health in the transaction of business by such corporations, and (5) a record of the meetings and an abstract of the proceedings of tlie commission during the preceding year. .
8. Have power, either through its members or inspectors or employees duly authorized by it, to enter in or upon the property, buildings, plants, factories, power houses and offices of any of such corporations, persons or municipalities while the same are open for the purpose of operation or while the business of such corporation is being done therein.
9. Have power to examine the books and affairs of any such corporations, persons or municipalities, and to compel the production before it of books and papers pertaining to the affairs being investigated by it.
10. Have power to subpoena witnesses, take testimony and administer oaths to witnesses in any proceeding or examination instituted before it, or conducted by it under the provisions of this act.
11. Hlave power to adopt rules governing practice in proceedings brought by or before it not inconsistent with law.
INSPECTION OF GAS AND ELECTRIC METERS.
Section 10. Such commission shall have full power, control and supervision of the inspection of gas and electric meters by any state or municipal officer appointed for such purpose, and may adopt and enforce rules and regulations, not inconsistent with law, prescribing the manner, methods and conditions of testing such meters. It shall see that the state inspector of gas meters, and the inspectors appointed by him, and municipal inspectors of gas and electric meters, faithfully perform the duties imposed upon them by law, and by the rules and regulations of the commission, and shall report any failure of such performance or any violation of law or of such rules and regulations to the officer or