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1 N.J.A.R. 243

Public Service Electric & Gas Co.; Brooks, Harvey D. & Harriet E. v
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 243
Decision Date: 1981
Synopsis: After a hurricane in 1979, petitioner filed an action in Bergen County District Court alleging that Public Service Electric and Gas had negligently failed to restore power within a reasonable time and failed to notify him that power would not be restored for a substantial period of time so that stes could be taken to preserve the petitioner's frozen food supply. On the basis of PSE&G's argument, the District Court ruled that the Board of Public Utilities had jurisdiction of a dispute concerning the supply of power and requested that the court be informed if the Board accepted jurisdiction. The matter was transferred to the Board and forwarded to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. The administrative law .judge concluded that disputes concerning the propriety of any tariff, or charge or costs of line extensions are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board and that disputes alleging negligence, intentional tort, or any other common law cause of action for damages are within the jurisdiction of the courts and cannot constitutionally be entertained by the Board either on liability or damage issues. Since the judge deermined that this case was a simply negligence matter, the judge ruled that the Board of Public Utilities was without jurisdiction to entertain the case. The matter was ordered dismissed and a copy of the determination was to be filed with the Bergen County District Court. Harvey D. Brooks, Petitioner, Pro se William R. Hoatson, Esq., for Respondent (James R. Lacey, Attorney)