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New Jersey Statutes, Title: 48, PUBLIC UTILITIES

    Chapter 3: Unjust or unreasonable discriminations or classifications of rates; "board" defined

      Section: 48:3-50: Findings, declarations relative to competition in the electric power and gas industries

           2. a. The Legislature finds and declares that it is the policy of this State to:

(1) Lower the current high cost of energy, and improve the quality and choices of service, for all of this State's residential, business and institutional consumers, and thereby improve the quality of life and place this State in an improved competitive position in regional, national and international markets;

(2) Place greater reliance on competitive markets, where such markets exist, to deliver energy services to consumers in greater variety and at lower cost than traditional, bundled public utility service;

(3) Maintain adequate regulatory oversight over competitive purveyors of retail power and natural gas supply and other energy services to assure that consumer protection safeguards inherent to traditional public utility regulation are maintained, without unduly impeding competitive markets;

(4) Ensure universal access to affordable and reliable electric power and natural gas service;

(5) Maintain traditional regulatory authority over non-competitive energy delivery or other energy services, subject to alternative forms of traditional regulation authorized by the Legislature;

(6) Ensure that rates for non-competitive public utility services do not subsidize the provision of competitive services by public utilities;

(7) Provide diversity in the supply of electric power throughout this State;

(8) Authorize the Board of Public Utilities to approve alternative forms of regulation in order to address changes in technology and the structure of the electric power and gas industries; to modify the regulation of competitive services; and to promote economic development;

(9) Prevent any adverse impacts on environmental quality in this State as a result of the introduction of competition in retail power markets in this State;

(10) Ensure that improved energy efficiency and load management practices, implemented via marketplace mechanisms or State-sponsored programs, remain part of this State's strategy to meet the long-term energy needs of New Jersey consumers;

(11) Preserve the reliability of power supply and delivery systems as the marketplace is transformed from a monopoly to a competitive environment; and

(12) Provide for a smooth transition from a regulated to a competitive power supply marketplace, including provisions which afford fair treatment to all stakeholders during the transition.

b. The Legislature further finds and declares that:

(1) In a competitive marketplace, traditional utility rate regulation is not necessary to protect the public interest and that competition will promote efficiency, reduce regulatory delay, and foster productivity and innovation;

(2) Due to regulatory changes, technological developments and other factors, a competitive electric generation and wholesale supply market has developed over the past several years;

(3) Electric power services are available in the wholesale markets at prices substantially lower than the current cost of electric power generation and supply services provided to retail customers by this State's electric public utilities;

(4) The traditional retail monopoly which electric public utilities have held in this State for electric power generation and supply services should be eliminated, so that all New Jersey energy consumers will be afforded the opportunity to access the competitive market for such services and to select the electric power supplier of their choice;

(5) The traditional electric public utility rate regulation which the Board of Public Utilities has exercised over retail power supply in this State requires reform in order to provide retail choice and bring the benefits of competition to all New Jersey consumers;

(6) Permitting the competitive electric power generation and supply marketplace to operate without traditional utility rate regulation will produce a wider selection of services at competitive market-based prices;

(7) Certain regulatory authority, including requiring electric power suppliers and gas suppliers to maintain offices in this State, is necessary to ensure continued safety, reliability and consumer protections in the electric power and gas industries; and to ensure accessibility to electric power suppliers and gas suppliers by the Board of Public Utilities, consumers, electric public utilities and gas public utilities; and

(8) The electric power generation marketplace and gas supply marketplace should be subject to appropriate consumer protection standards that will ensure that all classes of customers in all regions of this State are properly and adequately served.

c. The Legislature therefore determines that it is in the public interest to:

(1) Authorize the Board of Public Utilities to permit competition in the electric generation and gas marketplace and such other traditional utility areas as the board determines, and thereby reduce the aggregate energy rates currently paid by all New Jersey consumers;

(2) Provide for regulation of new market entrants in the areas of safe, adequate and proper service and customer protection;

(3) Relieve electric public utilities from traditional utility rate regulation in the provision of services which are deemed to be provided in a competitive market;

(4) Provide each electric public utility the opportunity to recover above-market power generation and supply costs and other reasonably incurred costs associated with the restructuring of the electric industry in New Jersey, the level of which will be determined by the Board of Public Utilities to the extent necessary to maintain the financial integrity of the electric public utility through the transition to competition, subject to the achievement of the other goals and provisions of this act, and subject to the public utility having taken and continuing to take all reasonably available steps to mitigate the magnitude of its above-market electric power generation and supply costs; and

(5) Provide the Board of Public Utilities with ongoing oversight and regulatory authority to monitor and review composition of the electric generation and retail power supply marketplace in New Jersey, and to take such actions as it deems necessary and appropriate to restore a competitive marketplace in the event it determines that one or more suppliers are in a position to dominate the marketplace and charge anti-competitive or above-market prices.


This section added to the Rutgers Database: 2012-09-26 13:37:54.

Older versions of 48:3-50 (if available):

Court decisions that cite this statute: CLICK HERE.