Some good news on the open government front for citizens, businesses and journalists seeking information about the state’s power grid and pricing structure.
On Tuesday, we published an editorial highlighting a proposal by some within the New York Independent System Operator to severely limit press coverage of organization meetings. The proposed changes to the organization’s bylaws included requiring reporters to get approval for quotes before publication in exchange for getting permission to cover NYISO meetings in person.
We came out strongly against these changes, as we believe the public has a right to know how decisions regarding their utility rates and the environment are being made, even when they’re being made by a private organization not subject to the state’s open government laws.
Our editorial against these changes was based on a Politico New York article that brought the proposal to light, so to speak.
On Tuesday, the organization issued a press release saying the restrictions are “no longer under consideration.”
Here’s the full text of the release:
“The New York ISO today issued its own draft proposal to amend shared governance by-laws to support greater media access to stakeholder meetings.
“The NYISO’s proposal is in response to recent discussions by stakeholders on draft by-laws changes that would have unnecessarily restricted media access. The stakeholders’ draft proposal does not have support from the NYISO management and is no longer under consideration.
“The NYISO’s draft proposal reinforces our longstanding commitment to transparency of the shared governance process by allowing teleconference access to all stakeholder meetings.
“The NYISO’s leadership has always been and will continue to be committed to transparency in all aspects of our operations,” said Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communication. “This commitment is a founding principle of the NYISO and our shared governance process since our formation 20 years ago.”
Information reviewed during stakeholder meetings is fully available on the NYISO’s public website (www.nyiso.com). The proposed rules build upon the NYISO’s commitment to transparency and open engagement.”
The release also included a new draft version of the NYISO’s proposed changes:
The public may attend meetings of the Committee and associated subcommittees, working groups, and task forces, in-person or by teleconference, and shall register with the Secretary prior to attendance. Guests of Members who attend with the representative in person or by teleconference shall also register with the Secretary before entering the meeting. The Secretary shall keep a list of those who register with the minutes of the meeting.
We commend NYISO officials for recognizing the negative impacts of imposing such severe limits on press coverage and for siding with the citizens on their right to know.