Utility believes gas regulator bill would contradict state, federal law

TRENTON – Outside counsel to the New Jersey Natural Gas Co. says the utility would have solid legal ground for challenging a proposed bill regarding locations of gas regulators if the legislation were to gain traction in the Legislature.

The bill, S1846, would require utility companies to conduct an analysis of alternative locations for new regulators and make that analysis public. It’s being sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11), Red Bank, who argues there is a problem in her district involving the placement of natural gas regulators in the area’s downtown business district.

The bill was held from the Senate Economic Growth Committee Thursday.

“(The bill) contradicts state and federal law that appropriately vests public utilities with exclusive authority to determine, without municipal interference or oversight, how best to provide safe gas service because that bill would give a municipality final authority over the manner in which a utility provides gas service within its borders,” said Kevin Marino, outside counsel to the utility, in written testimony on the bill.

Beck said her bill was introduced in large part because she and municipal leaders were given scant details from the town’s utility company about why regulators had to be located near the front of businesses – instead of the rear.

The senator said during the hearing that other cities in the state do not have regulators located in the same locations as the ones in Red Bank.

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