STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION
Assemblyman KEVIN J. ROONEY
District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)
Assemblymen McGuckin, S.Kean, Assemblywoman N.Munoz, Assemblymen Coughlin, Caputo, Giblin and Wimberly
Requires public utility requesting rate increase to hold public hearings in every county.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
An Act concerning public hearing requirements for public utilities and amending P.L.1980, c.179 and P.L.1983, c.454.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1980, c.179 (C.48:2-32.4) is amended to read as follows:
1. 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] a county affected by the proposed adjustment, the public hearing shall be held in a centrally located municipality in the affected [service area] 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.
(cf: P.L.1985, c.203, s.2)
2. Section 2 of P.L.1983, c.454 (C.48:2-32.6) is amended to read as follows:
2. a. The provisions of any other law, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary notwithstanding, the board, or the Office of Administrative Law acting pursuant to subsection (c) of section 10 of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 [(C.52:14B-10(c))] (C.52:14B-10), shall conduct as many of its public hearings held to review applications by gas and electric light, heat and power companies other than municipally owned companies for significant increases, changes, or alterations in their rate schedules, in the service area of the applicant as it deems necessary or appropriate to afford the affected ratepayers the opportunity to monitor the decision-making process by which the rates are set. At least [two] one public [hearings] hearing shall be held in every county in the service area with respect to any application [except that if substantial portions of the service area are located in more than one geographic region of the State, then at least two public hearings shall be held in the service area located in each of those geographic regions], under the terms and conditions specified in this [subsection] section. [One] If more than one public hearing is held, one of the public hearings [held in the service area, or one of the hearings held in each geographic area, as the case may be,] shall be a hearing in which petitioners, respondents, and intervenors are parties. [At the] If a second hearing [or hearings required by the provisions of this subsection] is held, statements by objectors shall be permitted. All public hearings held pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall be held at places which are easily accessible to the public with at least one such hearing held during evening hours.
b. On the day that the final public hearing in each county in the service area is to be held in connection with any application, after which the recommended report and decision is to be filed in accordance with subsection (c) of section 10 of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 [(C.52:14B-10(c))] (C.52:14B-10), the administrative law judge or the board, as the case may be, may require the parties to the proceedings to present a summary statement of their cases or defenses. After such a presentation, statements by the objectors shall be permitted in order to accord persons not parties to the proceedings an opportunity to participate in the proceedings. If no such presentation is made, objector's statements shall be permitted in any event before the conclusion of the hearing. [The final public hearing shall be held in the service area.]
(cf: P.L.1983, c.454, s.2)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill amends current law concerning public hearing requirements for public utilities requesting rate adjustments. Under the bill, at least one public hearing regarding an application for a rate adjustment is to be held in every county in the service area of the public utility making the application. If more than one public hearing is held, the first is to be a public hearing involving the parties to the application for the rate adjustment. The second public hearing is to provide the opportunity for public comment and objection to any application for a rate adjustment and is to be held in every county in the area served by the public utility making the application.
The bill also requires that at
least one public hearing is to be held in a municipality affected by a proposed
rate adjustment. If more than one municipality in a county is affected by the
proposed rate adjustment, the public hearing is to be held in a centrally
located municipality in the county.
Under current law, two public hearings in the service area are required when public utilities make application for a rate adjustment. This bill will require at least one public hearing in every county in the service area.