Court Affirms Authority of NJ Board of Public Utilities to Override Municipalities
by Dennis C. Linken on May 3, 2013
A recent State Superior Court, Appellate Division, case has affirmed the overarching authority of the Board of Public Utilities (Board or BPU) to override municipal determinations regarding multi-municipal public utility projects. At issue was the construction and operation of the New Jersey portion of a 500 kV upgrade of a transmission line from Berwick, Pennsylvania to Roseland, New Jersey (the “Project”). Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) had proposed the Project in an effort to address predicted problems regarding its electric transmission facilities.
Notwithstanding the objections of various municipalities and environmental groups opposing the project, the BPU concluded that the Project was “reasonably necessary for the service, convenience and welfare of the public in order to enable PSE&G to continue to provide safe, adequate, and reliable service to its customers.” The Board further held that the Project was reasonably necessary to avoid system overloads which could cause significant damage to the infrastructure, brown outs or black outs.
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