Developers and other interested parties still have time to submit comments on the State’s proposed regulations on utility main extensions; the deadline is January 30, 2015. The proposed regulations, published in the New Jersey Register, 46 N.J.R. 2323(a) (Dec. 1, 2014), will amend, repeal, and replace several sections of the existing regulations on main extensions at N.J.A.C. 14:3-8. If adopted, the proposed regulations would govern the conduct of all regulated utilities, except cable television operators (which are governed separately).
The proposed regulations are a noteworthy change from the existing regulations. Most significantly, the proposed regulations address the reasons for the Appellate Division’s invalidation of the prior regulations. To do so, the proposed regulations no longer distinguish main extensions serving areas designated for growth from main extensions serving non-growth areas. The proposed regulations also formally establish a refund policy for developers that paid for extensions in non-growth areas between March 20, 2005 and December 30, 2009. In addition to addressing the Appellate Division’s concerns, the proposed regulations clarify whether a utility may require a deposit for an extension and, if so, the timeframe for and amount of any refund from the utility. Key changes are discussed below.