Bill Text: NJ S902 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires public utilities to provide customers notice of request for increase in rates; revises requirements related to hearings on proposed rate increases.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-01-16 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Economic Growth Committee [S902 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S902-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 902

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 16, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  DAWN MARIE ADDIEGO

District 8 (Atlantic, Burlington and Camden)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires public utilities to provide customers notice of request for increase in rates; revises requirements related to hearings on proposed rate increases.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning public utility rate requests, amending P.L.1980, c.179 and supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  a.  Any public utility that has filed with the Board of Public Utilities a tariff filing or petition for an adjustment in existing tariffs which proposes to increase individual rates, joint rates, tolls, or charges, or schedules thereof, shall provide notice of any hearing to be held by the board, or by the Office of Administrative Law, involving such filing or petition.  Such notice shall be provided at a reasonable time in advance of a hearing or proceeding, as determined by board rules or regulations, and shall be (1) conspicuously set forth in a written message that appears as part of or accompanies the bills for service sent by the public utility to each of its customers, and (2) publicized in the public notice section of a newspaper having substantial readership, printed, and published within each county in which the public utility provides service.  A public utility shall provide to customers who are not provided monthly bills for service, or are provided such bills electronically, the notification required pursuant to this section via regular mail, or electronically if applicable, in a manner, consistent with this subsection, to be determined by board rules or regulations.

     The requirement of hearing notice to individual customers under this subsection shall be in addition to the requirement of hearing notice to municipalities and counties under subsection c. of section 34 of P.L.1962, c.198 (C.48:2-32.2). 

    b.    For the purposes of this section, "public utility" means a public utility as defined in R.S.48:2-13, providing gas, electric, water, or sewer service.

 

    2.    Section 1 of P.L.1980, c.179 (C.48:2-32.4) is amended to read as follows: 

     1.    a.  Prior to granting a public utility a proposed adjustment which would result in an increase in individual rates, joint rates, tolls, charges or schedules thereof, the Board of Public Utilities or the Office of Administrative Law shall hold at least one public hearing in the municipality affected by the proposed adjustment.  If more than one municipality is located in the service area affected by the proposed adjustment, the public hearing shall be held in [a centrally located] the municipality having the largest population in the affected service area.  If the municipalities of more than one county are affected by the proposed adjustment, the public hearing
shall be held in the municipality of each county having the largest population of any municipality in that county.  Notice of any such hearing shall be furnished in the manner provided for notices generally pursuant to subsections c. and d. of section 34 of P.L.1962, c.198 (C.48:2-32.2).  In the case of a hearing held by the Office of Administrative Law, proof of service of notice by a public utility shall be furnished to that office.

     b.    The Board of Public Utilities or the Office of Administrative Law shall receive the public's questions and comments concerning the proposed adjustment during the public hearing conducted pursuant to subsection a. of this section, during any hearing conducted pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1983, c.454 (C.48:2-32.6).  The public utility proposing the adjustment, and the Board of Public Utilities shall make reasonable efforts to address the questions and comments received from the public at any such hearing.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.203, s.2)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires that electric, gas, water, and sewer public utilities regulated by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that have petitioned the BPU for an increase in rates, shall provide notice to individual customers of any hearing or proceeding to be held concerning such a request.  Such notice must be provided reasonably in advance of the hearing or proceeding, as determined by board rules or regulations, and shall be conspicuously set forth in writing in or with the bills for service sent by the public utility, or other written notice, to each of its customers and publicized in the public notice section of a newspaper having substantial readership, printed, and published within each county in which the public utility provides service.

     The bill amends the law concerning public hearings conducted in relation to proposed rate increases by any public utility to provide that such hearings shall be held in the municipality with the largest population that may be affected by the increase.  If the increase would affect municipalities in more than one county, the hearings would be held in the municipality with the largest population in each affected county.  In addition, the bill directs the BPU to receive and address public questions and comments concerning the proposed rate increase submitted during the public hearing. 

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