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PUBLIC-UTILITIES LAW OF NEW YORK.
Became a law June 6, 1907, with the approval of the governor.
The public-service commissions law of New York, better known as the public-utilities law, establishes public-service cQininissions,. prescribes their powers and duties and provides for the regulation and .control of certain public-service corporations. It consists of these five articles:
I. Public-service commissions; general provisions.
II. Provisions relating to railroads, street railroads and common carriers.
III. Provisions relating to the powers of the commissions in respect to railroads, street railroads and common carriers.
IV. Provisions relating to teas and electric corporations; regulation of price of gas and electricity.
V. Commissions and offices abolished; saving clause; repeal.
There are created two public-service districts, to be known as the 1st district and the 2d district. The 1st district shall include the counties of New York, Kings, Queens and Richmond. The 2d district shall include all other counties of the state.
There shall be a public-service commission for each district and each commission shall possess the powers and duties necessary or proper to enable it to carry out the purposes of this act. The commission of the 1st district shall consist of five members and the commission of the 2d district shall consist of five members, to be appointed by the governor, by and witli the advice and consent of the senate. Each commissioner shall be a resident of the district for which he is appointed. The governor may remove any commissioner for inefficiency, neglect of duty or misconduct in office. The term of office is five years and the annual salary of each commissioner is $15,000. An attorney shall be appointed as counsel for each commission at a salary of $10,000 a year and a secretary at a salary of $6,000 a year.
JURISDICTION OF COMMISSIONS.
The jurisdiction, supervision, powers and duties of the public-service commission in the 1st district shall extend:
1. To railroads and street railroads lying exclusively within that district and to the persons or corporations owning, leasing, operating or contiolling the some.
2. To street railroads any portion of whose lines lies within that district, to all transportation of persons or property thereon within that district or from a point within either district to a point within the other district and to the persons or corporations owning, operating, controlling or leasing the said street railroads; provided, however, that the commission for the 2d district shall have jurisdiction over such portion of the lines of said street railroads as lies within the 2d district and over the persons or corporations owning, operating, controlling or leasing the same, so far as concerns the construction, maintenance, equipment, terminal facilities and local transportation facilities of said street railroads within the 2d district.
3. To such portion of the lines of any other railroad as lies within that district and to the person or corporation owning, leasing, operating or controlling the same, so far as concerns the construction, maintenance, equipment, terminal facilities- and local transportation facilities and local transportation of persons or property within that district.
4. To any common carrier operating or doing business exclusively within that district.
5. To the manufacture, sale or distribution of gas and electricity for light, heat and power in said district, and to the persons or corporations owning, leasing, operating or controlling the same.
6. And In addition thereto the commission in the 1st district shall have and exercise all powers heretofore conferred upon the board of rapid transit rail-oad commissioners under chapter four of
the laws of 1891. entitled "An act to provide for rapid-transit railways in cities of over 1,000,000 inhabitants," and the acts amendatory thereto.
All Jurisdiction, supervision, powers and duties under this act not specifically granted to the public-service commission of the 1st district shall be vested in and be exercised by the public-service commission of the 2d district, including the regula-' tlon and control of all transportation of persons or property, and the instrumentalities connected with such transportation, on any railroad other than a street railroad from a point within either district to a point within the other district.
ELIGIBILITY OF MEMBERS.
No person shall be eligible for appointment or shall hold the office of commissioner or be appointed by a commission or by counsel to a commission to, or hold, any office or position under a commission, who holds any official relation to any common carrier, railroad corporation, street-railroad corporation, gas corporation or electrical corporation subject to the provisions of this act. or who owns stocks or bonds therein.
OFFICES OF COMMISSIONS.
The principal office of the commission of the 1st district shall be in the borough of Manhattan, city of New York; and the office of the 2d district shall be in the city of Albany, in rooms designated by the trustees of public buildings. Each commission shall hold stated meetings at least once a month during the year at Its office.
The offices of each commission shall be open for business between the hours of 8 a. m. and 11 p. m. every day in the year and one or more responsible persons, to be designated by the commission or by the secretary under the direction of the commission, shall he on duty at all times in immediate charge thereof. A majority of the commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business, for the performance of any duty or for the exercise of any power of the coinmission and may hold meetings of the commission at any time or place within the state.
CERTAIN ACTS PROHIBITED.
Every commissioner, counsel to a commission, the secretary of a commission, and every person employed or appointed to office, either by a commission or by the counsel to a commission. Is forbidden and prohibited to solicit, suggest or recommend, directly or indirectly, to any common carrier, railroad corporation or street-railroad corporation, or to any officer, attorney, agent or employe thereof, the appointment of any person to any office, place, position or employment. And every common carrier, railroad corporation, street-railroad corporation, gas corporation and electrical corporation and every officer, attorney, agent and employe thereof Is forbidden and prohibited to offer to any com missioner, to counsel to a commission, to the secretary thereof, or to any person employed by a commission or by the counsel to a commission, any office, place, appointment or position, or to offer or give to any commissioner, to counsel to a commission, to the secretary thereof, or to any officer employed or appointed to office by the commission or by the counsel to the commission, any free pass or transportation or any reduction in fare to which the public generally is not entitled or free carriage for freight or property or any present, gift or gratuity of any kind. If any commissioner, counsel to a commission, the secretary thereof oi any person employed or appointed to office by a commission or by counsel to a commission shall violate any provision of this section he shall be removed from the office held by him.
The commissions are required to make annual reports to the legislature on or before the second Monday of January of each year.
If a person subpoenaed to attend before a commission or a commissioner fails to obey without reasonable cause, or If a person shall, without reasonable cause, refuse to be sworn or to be Q'
amined or to answer a question or to product a book or papers when ordered so to do or to subscribe and swear to his deposition after ,it has been correctly reduced to writing, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be prosecuted therefor In any court of competent criminal jurisdiction. If a person in attendance before a commission or a commissioner refuses without reasonable cause to be examined or to answer a legal and pertinent question or produce a book or paper when ordered so to do, the commission may apply to any justice of the Supreme court upon proof by affidavit of the facts for an order returnable in not less than two nor more than five days directing such person to show cause why he should not be committed to jail; upon the return of such order the justice before whom the matter shall come shall examine under oath such person and If the justice shall determine that such person has refused without reasonable cause or legal excuse to be examined or to answer a legal and pertinent question, or to produce a book or paper which he was ordered to bring, he may forthwith, by warrant, commit the offender to jail, there to remain until he submits to do the act which he was so required to do or is discharged according to law.
PRACTICE BEFORE COMMISSIONS.
All hearings shall be governed by rules to be adopted and prescribed by the commission. And In all Investigations, inquiries or hearings the commission shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence. No person shall be excused from testifying or from producing any books or papers upon the ground that the testimony or evidence, books or documents may tend to incriminate him or subject him to penalty or forfeiture, but no person shall be prosecuted, punished or subjected to any penalty on account of any act, transaction, matter or thing concerning which he shall under oath have testified or produced documentary evidence; provided, however, that no person so testifying shall be exempt from prosecution or punishment for any perjury committed by him in his testimony. Nothing herein contained Is intended to give or shall be construed as in any manner giving unto any corporation immunity of any kind.
PREFERENCE IN COURT PROCEEDINGS.
All actions and proceedings under this act and all actions and proceedings prosecuted by order of either commission, and all actions and proceedings to which either commission or the people of the state of New York may be parties, and in which any question arises under this act or under the railroad law, or under or concerning any order or action of the commission, shall be preferred over all other civil causes except election causes In all courts of the state of New York and shall be heard and determined in preference to all other civil business pending therein excepting election causes, irrespective of position on the calendar.
The provisions of this article apply to the transportation of passengers, freight or property within the state of New York and to any common carrier performing such service.
SERVICE AND CHARGES.
Every corporation, person or common carrier performing a service in connection with such transportation shall furnish with respect thereto such service and facilities as shall be safe and adequate and in all respects just and reasonable. All charges made or demanded by any such corporation, person or common carrier for the transportation of passengers, freight or property or for any service rendered or to be rendered in connection therewith, shall be just and reasonable and not more than allowed by law or by order of the commission having jurisdiction and made as authorized by this act. Every,unjust or unreasonable charge Is prohibited.
SWITCH AND TRACK CONNECTIONS.
A railroad corporation, upon the application of any shipper tendering traffic for transportation, shall construct, maintain and operate upon reasonable terms a switch connection or connections
with a lateral line of railroad or private sidetrack owned by such shipper, and shall provide upon its own property a sidetrack and switch connection with Its line of railroad, whenever sucb sidetrack and switch connection is reasonably practicable. can be put in with safety and the business therefor is sufficient to justify the same.
If any railroad corporation shall fall to install or operate any such switch connection after written application therefor has been made to It. any corporation or person Interested may present the facts to the commission by written petition and the commission shall investigate the matter. If the commission be of opinion that it Is safe and practicable to have a connection substantially as prayed for established and that the business to be done thereon justifies it, it shall make an order directing the construction and establishment thereof, specifying the reasonable compensation to be paid for the construction and maintenance thereof. It may in like manner order .the discontinuance of such switch connection.
Every common carrier shall file with the commission having jurisdiction and shall print and keep open to public Inspection schedules showing the rates, fares and charges for the transportation of passengers and property within the state between each point upon its route and all other points thereon; and between each point upon its route and all points upon every route leased, operated or controlled by it; and between each point on its route or upon any route leased, operated or controlled by it and all points upon the route of any other common carrier, whenever a through route and joint rate shall have been established or ordered between any two such points. If no joint rate over a through route has been established the several carriers in such through route shall file, print and keep open to public inspection the separately established rates, fares and charges applied to the through transportation. The schedules shall plainly state the places between which property and passengers will be carried and shall also contain the classification of passengers, freight or property in force and shall also state separately all terminal charges, storage charges. Icing charges and all other charges which the commission may require to be stated. Such schedules shall be plainly printed in large type; copies thereof for the use of the public shall be kept posted In two public and conspicuous places In every depot, Btation and office of every common carrier where passengers or property are received for transportation.
No common carrier shall, directly or Indirectly, by any special rate, rebate, drawback or other device or method, charge, collect or receive from any person or corporation a greater or less compensation for >any service rendered or to be rendered In the transportation of passengers, freight or property, except as authorized in this act, than it charges, collects or receives from any other person or corporation for doing a like and contemporaneous service In the transportation of a like kind of traffic under the same or substantially similar circumstances and conditions.
No common carrier shall make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any person or corporation or to any locality or to any particular description of traffic, or subject am* particular person, corporation, locality or traffic to any prejudice or disadvantage whatever. The rates as fixed In the published schedules must be followed and no common carrier shall by any device refund or remit any portion of the rates so specified and shall not extend any facilities to any person or shipper except such as are regularly extended to all persons and corporations.
No common carrier subject to the provisions of this act shall, directly or Indirectly, Issue or give any free ticket, free pass or free transportation for passengers or property between points In this state except to its officers, employes, agents, pensioners, surgeons, physicians, attorneys at law and their families and others specified in the act.
No common carrier or any officer or agent thereof or any person acting for or employed by it shall assist, suffer or permit any person or cor poration to obtain transportation for any passenger, freight or property between points within this state at less than the rates then established and in force in accordance with the schedules filed and published in accordance with the provisions of this act. by means of false billing, false classification, false weight or weighing or false report of weight, or by any other device or means.
INTERCHANGE OP TRAFFIC.
Every common carrier is required to afford reasonable and equal facilities for the. interchange of passenger, freight and property traffic between its lines and the lines of every other common carrier. Every common carrier, as such. Is required to receive from every other common carrier at a connecting point freight cars of a proper standard and haul the same through to destination or to the connecting point of the line on which the place of destination is located.
LONG AND SHORT HAUL.
No common carrier subject to the provisions of this act shall charge or receive any greater compensation in the aggregate for the transportation of passengers or of a like kind of property .under substantially similar circumstances and conditions for a shorter than for a longer distance over the same line in the same direction, the shorter being included within the longer distance; but this shall not be construed as authorizing any such common carrier to charge and receive as great a compensation for a shorter as for a longer distance or haul. Upon application of a common carrier the commission may by order authorize it to charge less for longer than for shorter distances for. the transportation of passengers or property in special cases after Investigation by the commission.
DISTRIBUTION OF CARS.
Every railroad corporation or other common carrier engaged In the transportation of freight shall, upon reasonable notice, furnish to all persons and corporations who may apply therefor and offer freight for transportation, sufficient and suitable cars for the transportation of such freight in carload lots. Every railroad corporation and streetrailroad corporation shall have sufficient cars and motive power to meet all requirements for the transportation of passengers and property which may reasonably be anticipated, unless relieved therefrom by order of the commission. In case at any particular time a common carrier has not sufficient cars to meet all requirements for the transportation of property in carload lots, all cars available to it for such purposes shall be distributed among the several applicants therefor without discrimination between shippers, localities or competitive or noncompetitive points, but preference may always be given in the supply of cars for shipment of live stock or perishable property.
The commission shall have power to make, and by order shall make, reasonable regulations for the furnishing and distribution of freight cars to shippers, for the switching of the same, for the loading and unloading thereof, for demurrage charges in respect thereto and for the weighing of cars and freight offered for shipment or transported by any common carrier.
LIABILITY OF CARRIERS.
In case a common carrier shall do any act or thing prohibited or declared to be unlawful, or shall omit to do any act or thing required to be done, either by any law of the state of New York, by this act or by an order of the commission, such common carrier shall be liable to the persons or corporations affected thereby for all loss, damage or injury caused thereby and In case of recovery, If the court shall find that such act or omission was willful, it may in its discretion fix
a reasonable counsel or attorney's fee, which fee shall be collected as- part of the costs In the case.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSIONS.
Each commission and commissioner shall have the powfir to administer oaths to witnesses summoned to testify in any investigation by the commission or commissioner.
Each commission shall have the general supervision of all common carriers, railroads, street railroads, railroad corporations and street railroad corporations within its jurisdiction and shall have power to and shall examine the same and keep informed as to their general condition, their capitalization, their franchises and the manner in which their lines, owned, leased controlled or operated, are managed, conducted and operated, not only with respect to the adequacy, security and accommodation afforded by their service, but also with respect to their compliance with all pro- . visions of law, orders of the commission and charter requirements.
Each commission and each commissioner shall have power to examine all books, contracts, records, documents and papers of any person or corporation subject to its supervision and by subpoena duces tecum to compel production thereof.
Each commission shall prescribe the form of the annual reports required under this act to be made by common carriers, railroad and street-railroad corporations and may from time to time .make Buch changes therein and additions thereto as it may deem proper. Corporations failing to make the reports required shall forfeit to the state the sum of $100 for each day they shall continue in default with respect to such report.
INVESTIGATION OF ACCIDENTS.
Each commission shall investigate the cause of all accidents on any railroad or street railroad within its district which result In loss of life or injury to persons and property and which In its judgment shall require investigation. Every common carrier, railroad and street-railroad corporation is required to give Immediate notice to the commission of every accident happening upon its line.
INVESTIGATIONS BY COMMISSION.
Each commission may of its own motion investigate or make Inquiry in a manner to be determined by it as to any act or thing done or omitted to be done by any common carrier, railroad corporation or street-railroad corporation subject to its supervision, and the commission must make such inquiry.
Complaints may be made to the proper commission by any person or corporation aggrieved, by petition or complaint in writing, setting forth any thing or act done or omitted to be done by any common carrier, railroad corporation or streetrailroad corporation in violation of any provision of law or of the terms and conditions of its franchise or charter or of any order of the commission. Upon the presentation of such a complaint the commission shall cause a copy thereof to. be forwarded to the person or corporation complained of, accompanied by an .order requiring that the matters complained of be satisfied or that the charges be answered. If the person or corporation complained of shall make reparation and shall cease to commit or to permit the violation of law charged In the complaint, the commission need take no further action upon the charges. If, however, the charges be not thus satisfied and it shall appear to the commission that there are reasonable grounds therefor it shall investigate such charges.
RATES MAT BE FIXED BT COMMISSION.
Whenever either commission shall be of opinion that the rates, fares or charges demanded or collected by any common carrier, railroad or etreetrallroad corporation a,re unjust and unreasonable, discriminatory or preferential or in violation of the law, the commission shall determine the Just and reasonable rates, fares and charges to be thereafter observed and in force as the maximum
charged for the service to be performed and shall fix the same by order. And If the commission shall be of opinion that the regulations, practices, equipment, appliances or service of any such corporation are unjust, unreasonable, unsafe, improper or inadequate, the commission shall determine and fix the just, reasonable, safe, adequate and proper regulations, practices, equipment, appliances and service thereafter to be observed and used in the transportation of persons and freight.
The commissions shall also have the power to order changes and repairs in tracks, switches, terminals, motive power or any other property used in connection with the transportation of persons or property and to order changes in time schedules and the running of additional curs and trains whenever these changes are. in the judgment of the commissioners, reasonably necessary for accommodation or safety in the transportation of passengers or property.
UNIFORM SYSTEM OP ACCOUNTS.
Each commission may, whenever it deems advisable, establish a uniform system of accounts to be used by railroad and street-railroad corporations or other common carriers subject to its supervision and may prescribe the manner in which such accounts shall be kept. It may also. In its discretion, prescribe the forms of accounts, records an£ memoranda to be kept by such corporations, including the accounts, records and memoranda of the movement of traffic as well as the receipts and expenditures of moneys.
FRANCHISES AND PRIVILEGES.
Franchises for the construction of new railroads or street railroads must be obtained from the commission before work can begin.
No franchise nor any right to or under any franchise to own or operate a railroad or street railroad shall be assigned, transferred or leased, nor shall any contract or agreement with reference to or affecting any such franchise or right be valid or of any force or effect whatsoever unless the assignment, transfer, lease, contract or agreement shall have been approved by the proper commission.
No railroad or street-railroad corporation, domestic or foreign, shall hereafter purchase or acquire any part of the capital stock of- any railroad corporation or street-rail road corporation or other common carrier unless authorized so to do by the commission having jurisdiction; and save where stock shall be transferred or held for the purpose of collateral security only with the consent of the commission empowered by this act to give such consent, no stock corporation of any description, domestic or foreign, other than a railroad corporation or streetrailroad corporation, shall purchase or acquire more than 10 per cent of the total capital stock issued by any railroad or street-railroad corporation or other common carrier.
APPROVAL OF STOCK AND BOND ISSUES.
A common carrier, railroad or street-railroad corporation may issue stocks, bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness payable at periods of more than twelve months after the date thereof, when necessary for the acquisition of property, the construction, completion, extension or improvement of Its facilities or for the maintenance or improvement of its service or for the discharge or refunding of its obligations, provided there shall have been secured from the proper commission an order authorizing such issue and the amount thereof and stating that in the opinion of the commission the use of the capital to be secured by such Issue is reasonably required for the said purposes of the corporation.
The capital stock of a corporation formed by the merger, of two or more other corporations shall not exceed the sum of the capital stock of the corporations so consolidated, at the par value thereof, or such sum and any additional sum actually paid in cash; nor shall any contract for consolidation or lease be capitalized In the stock of any corporation whatever; nor shall any corporation hereafter issue any bond against or' as a lien upon any contract for consolidation or merger
FORFEITURE AND PENALTIES.
Every common carrier, railroad corporation and street-railroad corporation and all officers and agents of such corporations shall obey every order made by the commission so long as the same shall be and remain in force. Any common carrier, railroad corporation or street-railroad corporation which shall violate any provision of this act or which fails, omits or neglects to obey, observe or comply with any order or any direction or requirement of the commission shall forfeit to the people of. the state of New York not to exceed the sum of $5,000 for each and every offense; every violation of any such order or direction or requirement, or of this act, shall be a separate and distinct offense and, in case of a continuing violation, every day's continuance thereof shall be and be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.
Every officer and agent of any such common carrier or corporation who shall violate or aid in violating any -provision of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Any corporation, other than a common carrier, railroad corporation or street-railroad corporation, which shall violate any provision of this act. or shall fail to obey, observe and comply with every order made by the commission shall forfeit to the people of the state of New York a sum not exceeding $1,000 for each and every offense; everv such violation shall be a separate and distinct offense.
Every person who. either individually or acting as an officer or agent of a corporation other than a common carrier, railroad corporation or streetrailroad corporation, shall violate any provision of this act or fall to obey, observe or coraplv with any order made by the commission under this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
In construing and enforcing the provisions of this act relating to forfeitures and penalties the act of any director, officer or other person acting for or employed by any common carrier, railroad corporation, street-railroad corporation or corporation acting within the scope of his official duties or employment shall be in every case deemed to be the act of such common carrier, railroad corporation, street-railroad corporation or corporation.
Either commission may investigate freight rates on interstate traffic on railroads within the state and when in the opinion of either commission such rates are excessive or discriminatory or in violation of the interstate-commerce law, the commission may apply by petition to the interstate-commerce commission for relief.
APPLICATION OF ARTICLE.
This article shall apply to the manufacture and furnishing of gas for light, heat or power and the furnishing of natural gas for light, heat or power and the generation, furnishing and transmission of electricity for light, heat or power.
GENERAL POWERS OF COMMISSIONS.
Each commission shall within its jurisdiction—
1. Have the general supervision of all persons and corporations having authority under any general or special law or under any charter or franchise to lay down, erect or maintain wires, pipes, conduits, ducts or other fixtures in, over or under the streets, highways and public places of any municipality, for the purpose of furnishing or distributing gas or of furnishing or transmitting electricity for light, heat or power, or maintaining underground conduits or ducts for electrical conductors.
2. Investigate and ascertain from time to time the quality of gas supplied by persons, corporations and municipalities; examine the methods employed by such persons, corporations and municipalities in manufacturing and supplying gas or electricity for light, heat or power and In transmitting the same and have power to order such improvements as will best promote the public interest, preserve the public health and protect those using such gas or electricity and those eraployed in the manufacture and distribution thereof, or In the maintenance and operation of the works, wires, poles, lines, conduits, ducts and systems maintained in connection therewith.
3. Have power to fix the standard of illuminat ins power and purity of gas. not less than that prescribed by law, to be manufactured or sold for lighting, heating or power purposes and to prescribe methods of regulation of the electric supply system as to the use for Incandescent lighting and fix the initial efficiency of incandescent lamps furnished for lighting..
4. Have power. In its discretion, to prescribe uniform methods of keeping books and accounts by the corporations engaged in the manufacture 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 and see that their property is maintained and operated for the security and accommodation of the public.
6. Require every person and corporation under its supervision to submit to it an annual report showing in detail (l) the amount of its authorized and outstanding capital stock; (2) the amount of its authorized bonded indebtedness and the amount of its bonds and other forms of evidence of indebtedness 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 name of and the amount paid as salary to each officer and the amount paid as wages to Its employes; (6) the location of Its plant or plants and system, with a full description of its property and franchises, stating In detail how each franchise stated to lie owned was acquired, and (7) such other facts pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the plant and system and the affairs of such person or corporation as may be required by the commission. When any such report Is defective or believed to be erroneous the commission shall notify the person, corporation or municipality making such rei>ort to amend the same within thirty days. Any such person or corporation or municipality which shall neglect to make any such report within the time specified by the commission or which shall fail to correct any such report within thirty days after notice, shall-be liable to a penalty of $1"0 and an additional penalty of $100 for each day after the prescribed time for which it shall neglect to file or correct the same, to be sued for in the name of the .people of the state of New York.
7. Require each municipality engaged In operating any works or systems for the manufacture and supplying of gas or electricity to make an annual report to the commission verified by the oath of the general manager or superintendent thereof showing in detail facts similar to those required to be shown by persons and corporations.
8. Have power, either through its members or inspectors or employes duly authorized by it, to enter in or upon and to Inspect the property, buildings, plants, factories, power houses and offices of any such corporations, persons or municipalities.
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.
INSPECTION OF GAS AND ELECTRIC METERS.
Each commission shall appoint inspectors of gas and electric meters whose duty it shall be when required to Inspect and ascertain the accuracy of any and all gas meters and electric meters. No corporation or person shall furnish or put In use any gas or electric meter which shall not have been inspected, proved and sealed or marked by an inspector of the commission.
FRANCHISES AND STOCK ISSUES.
The provisions requiring approval of franchises, stock and bond Issues and transfers of franchises are similar to those in the case of railroad and street-railroad corporations.
COMPLAINTS AND HEARINOS.
Upon the complaint in writing of the mayor of a city, the trustees of a village or the town board of a town in which a person or corporation Is authorized to manufacture, sell or supply gas or electricity for heat, light or power, or upon the complaint in writing of not less than 100 customers or purchasers of such gas or electricity in cities of the first or second class, or of not less than fifty in cities of the third class, or of not less than twenty-five elsewhere, either as to the illuminating power, purity, pressure or price of gas or the Initial efficiency of the electric incandescent lamp supply, or the regulation of the voltage of the supply system used for Incandescent lighting, or price of electricity sold in such municipality, the proper commission shall investigate as to the cause of such complaint and examine the works, system, plant and methods used by such corporation. Notice of examinations shall be given and the person or corporation made the subject of complaint shall be given an opportunity to be heard. After a hearing and investigation the commission may within lawful limits by order fix the maximum price of gas or electricity to be charged by such corporation or person or may order such changes as will improve the service.
FORFEITURE FOR NONCOMPLIANCE.
Every gas corporation and electrical corporation and the officers, agents or employes thereof shall obey every order made by the commission. Any such corporation, or any officer, agent or employe thereof who knowingly falls or neglects to obey or comply with such order or any provision of this act shall forfeit to the state of New York not to exceed the sum of $1,000 for each offense. Every distinct violation of any such order or of tliis act shall be a separate offense and in case of a continuing violation each day shall be deemed a separate offense. An action to recover such forfeit may be brought In any court of competent jurisdiction In this state in the name of the people of the state of New York.
Whenever either commission shall be of opinion that a gas corporation, electrical corporation or municipality within its jurisdiction Is falling or omitting or about to fall or omit to do anything required of It by law or by order of the commie sion it shall direct counsel to the commission to commence an action or proceeding In the Supreme court of the state of New York In the name of the commission for the purpose of having sucli violations or threatened violations stopped and prevented either by mandamus or injunction. Counsel to the commission shall thereupon begin such action or proceeding by a petition to the Supreme court alleging the violation complained of and praying for appropriate relief by way of mandamus or Injunction. It shall l>e the duty of the court to specify the time not exceeding twenty days after service of a copy of the petition within which the gas corporation, electrical corporation or municipality complained of must answer the petition.
This article abolishes the board of railroad commissioners, commission of gas and electricity, inspector of gas meters and board of rapid-transit railroad commissioners and provides for the transfer of records and the disposition of pending proceedings. It further repeals certain acts and parts of acts In conflict with the new law and specifics that the act shall take effect July 1, 1907.
Appointed by Gov. Hughes June 28, 1907.
For New York City—William It. Willcox. chairman; William McCarroIl. Edward M. Bassett. Mllo R. Maltbe and John E. Eustis.
For Rest of State—Frank W. Stevens, chairman: Charles Hallain Keep, D. M. Osborne, James E. Sague, Martin S. Decker.