N.Y. Public Service Law Section 39
Meter reading and estimated bills


A utility corporation or municipality may, in accordance with such requirements as the commission may impose by regulation, render an estimated bill for any billing period if:


the procedure used by such utility or municipality for calculating estimated bills has been approved by the commission, and the bill clearly indicates that it is based on an estimated reading and (b) the utility owning the meter and providing the meter reading data on which the estimated bill will be based or the municipality has made reasonable effort to obtain an actual meter reading or (c) circumstances beyond the control of the utility or municipality made an actual reading of the meter extremely difficult or (d) circumstances indicate a reported reading is likely to be erroneous, or


an estimated reading is prescribed or authorized by the commission for a billing period between periods when actual meter readings are scheduled or for seasonal or short term customers.


Where a utility corporation owning the meter and supplying meter reading data for a bill or a municipality fails to gain access to a meter for a period of four months or two billing periods, whichever is greater, the corporation or municipality shall take reasonable actions to obtain an actual meter reading. Such additional actions may include, but not be limited to: making an appointment with the customer or such other person who controls access to the meter for a reading at a time other than within normal business hours, offering the customer the opportunity to phone in a meter reading, or providing a card to the customer on which he or she may record the reading and mail it to the utility or municipality.


Where a utility corporation or municipality has submitted an estimated bill or bills to a residential customer, and such estimate or estimates significantly understate the actual amount of money owed by such customer, the customer shall have the right to pay the difference between the estimated charges and the actual charges in regular monthly installments over a reasonable period. The commission shall establish by regulation the minimum amount for any such underbilling, and the length of any such period; provided, however, that no such installment period shall be less than three months.


Upon discontinuation of utility service to a residential customer, a gas or electric corporation shall notify such customer of their right to an actual meter reading. It shall be the right of every residential customer of a gas or electric corporation, upon the discontinuation of utility service, to obtain, upon request, an actual meter reading by such customer’s gas or electric corporation. A gas or electric corporation shall provide such a reading within forty-eight hours of such request, provided that if circumstances beyond the control of the gas or electric corporation make an actual reading of the meter extremely difficult, such corporation shall not be required to provide an actual meter reading. A gas or electric corporation shall not be required to provide a physical meter reading during a holiday or non-work day, but shall instead provide such meter reading on the next workday.

Source: Section 39 — Meter reading and estimated bills, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/PBS/39 (updated Aug. 31, 2018; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).

Nov. 25, 2023

Last modified:
Aug. 31, 2018

§ 39’s source at nysenate​.gov

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