Assemblyman RONALD S. DANCER
District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)
Assemblyman DANIEL R. BENSON
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Assemblyman ERIC HOUGHTALING
District 11 (Monmouth)
Assemblywoman AMY H. HANDLIN
District 13 (Monmouth)
Assemblyman PAUL D. MORIARTY
District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)
Assemblywomen Pinkin, Downey, Assemblymen Gusciora, Johnson, Clifton, Auth, Webber, Assemblywoman N.Munoz, Assemblymen A.M.Bucco, Rooney, DiMaio, C.A.Brown, Peterson, Wolfe, Assemblywomen Muoio, B.DeCroce, Schepisi, Phoebus and Assemblyman S.Kean
Increases penalties for energy “slamming” practices.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning penalties for energy “slamming” practices and amending P.L.1999, c.23.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 34 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-83) is amended to read as follows:
34. Any person who violates any provision of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for the first offense, except for a violation of section 37 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-86), for which a person shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than [$10,000] $20,000 for the first offense, and not more than [$25,000] $50,000 for the second and each subsequent offense, for each day that the violation continues. Any civil penalty which may be imposed pursuant to this section may be compromised by the board. In determining the amount of the penalty, or the amount agreed upon in compromise, the board shall consider: the nature, circumstances, and gravity of the violation; the degree of the violator's culpability; any history of prior violations; the prospective effect of the penalty on the ability of the violator to conduct business; any good faith effort on the part of the violator in attempting to achieve compliance; the violator's ability to pay the penalty; and other factors the board determines to be appropriate. The amount of the penalty when finally determined, or the amount agreed upon in compromise, may be deducted from any sums [owing] owed by the State to the person charged, or may be recovered, if necessary, in a summary proceeding pursuant to ["the penalty enforcement law," N.J.S.2A:58-1 et seq.] the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).
The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of ["the penalty enforcement law"] the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.) in connection with [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).
(cf: P.L.1999, c.23, s.34)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill increases civil
penalties for energy “slamming” practices from $10,000 for the first offense,
and not more than
$25,000 for the second and each subsequent offense, to $20,000 for the first offense, and not more than $50,000 for the second and each subsequent offense. Energy “slamming” is a practice that involves changing consumers’ electric power or gas supplier without their knowledge or consent.
This bill addresses growing concerns over certain third-party energy suppliers engaged in slamming practices. In the past year, certain third-party energy suppliers took advantage of an unusually cold winter to change consumers’ energy suppliers without their knowledge or consent. A number of consumers complained of these unauthorized changes which resulted in skyrocketing energy utility bills. This bill doubles the civil penalties for slamming practices to discourage any third-party energy supplier from taking advantage of consumers in the future.