Memo Regarding Intro No. 1268

MEMORANDUM  OF  SUPPORT

BILL: Intro No. 1268

SUBJECT: Establishing the regulation of the heating oil supply industry under the purview of the Business Integrity Commission (“BIC”)

DATE: September 29, 2016

SPONSORS: Antonio Reynoso

The Real Estate Board of New York (“REBNY”), representing over 17,000 owners, developers, managers, and brokers of real property in New York City supports Int. No. 1268 because BIC would provide the oversight necessary to identify and impede corrupt business practices

Intro 1268 grants BIC comprehensive powers to regulate the heating oil industry. Regulation measures include: the power to administer and maintain licenses from participants; the ability to perform background investigations of applicants and their employees; and the capacity to invoke civil and criminal penalties for violations.

In 2015, a widespread investigation conducted by BIC, the New York City Department of Investigation, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and the New York City Police Department uncovered corrupt practices within the heating oil supply industry. The companies involved devised several sophisticated methods to steal from their customers by circumventing annual inspections intended to thwart fraudulent activity. This is especially concerning to owners and managers of real property because of its financial impacts, which result in customers being short-changed, and the precarious environmental impacts of tampering with the integrity of heating oil.  The recurrence of such fraudulent and criminal practices after similar investigations and prosecutions in 2007, and in the 1990s shows that in order to protect consumer interests, the heating oil industry needs to  be subject to more substantial regulatory oversight in the foreseeable future.

BIC is especially positioned to investigate and impede corrupt business practices as the agency already has the mandate to regulate and oversee trade waste and public markets. However, it is critical that the agency is adequately staffed and resourced to ensure that consumers do not experience any service delays or any other uncertainty in pricing or delivery as the regulatory framework is established.  

For the foregoing reasons, we voice our support to Introduction No 1268.