The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has rejected a request by a trade group representing heating, cooling, and appliance repair and installation vendors to direct Public Service Electric and Gas Co. to discontinue air conditioning repair and installation services and to require the utility to use past profits from the service to pay for alleged damages to competitors.
According to the trade group, Coalition for Fair Competition, PSE&G had been offering the air conditioner repair service without approval of the board and had used its position as a supplier of energy services (em along with allegedly deceptive and misleading advertising (em to injure competing contractors.
No Jurisdiction. In rejecting the request, the board said that it lacked authority under state law to consider the allegations of anticompetitive behavior or to mandate the specific remedies requested by the contractors.
It added, however, that its current policy requires electric and gas utilities to notify the board and gain prior approval for "nontraditional nontariffed services," including "all maintenance, repair, replacement part, service contract, power conditioning or equipment sales and/or lease or any other tariffed or nontariffed, competitive services."
But "Some Confusion." Acknowledging that "there may have been some confusion" regarding the policy, the board directed all energy utilities in the state to provide a listing of all competitive services offered and whether approval has been obtained for each. Re Public Service Elec. & Gas Co., Docket No. EC96070517, Dec. 2, 1996 (N.J.B.P.U.).
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