Memorandum in Support - A.4738/S.2251

Energy Coalition New York supports the subject legislation, which would amend Section 120.05 of the Penal Law to provide that a person preventing a utility worker from performing a lawful duty who causes such utility worker physical injury would be guilty of a class D felony.

Energy Coalition New York consists of New York State's major gas and electric utility companies: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation. Coalition companies collectively employ more than 32,000 people, service more than 8.5 million customers and pay more than $3 billion in state and local taxes, assessments and fees. The member companies annually invest billions of dollars to make capital improvements to the electric and natural gas infrastructure located in New York State.

Penal Law ยง 120.05 covers nurses, paramedics, medical personnel in a hospital emergency department, police, firefighters and others. The objective of the increased penalty is both to protect the workers covered and discourage conduct directed at preventing emergency workers from accomplishing their critical work.

Utility workers are engaged in performing essential services for the public to ensure the operation of the electric, gas and steam systems. Utility workers performing restoration, repair and terminations have been subjected to physical injury while performing services to maintain the electric, gas and steam infrastructure. There should be increased penalties for this conduct to protect utility workers from physical injury and to discourage attempts to prevent utility workers from performing their essential services for the community.

Based on the foregoing, it is respectfully requested that this legislation receive favorable consideration.