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  • NJ A1252
  • Allows use of master meter system in residential dwellings under certain conditions.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill requires a gas public utility (utility) in this State to provide gas service to a customer of the utility that has installed a master meter system at a multiple dwelling, pursuant to the provisions of the federal pipeline safety code, requiring that all applicable safety requirements, including any applicable Board of Public Utilities rule or regulation providing for the certification, inspection, and compliance of the operation of the system have been met. Under a master meter system, tenants of the dwelling units within the multiple dwelling served by the system are to purchase gas directly from the utility customer. The bill defines "master meter system" as any gas pipeline system operated by a residential or commercial customer of a utility which is utilized for the distribution of gas to tenants of a multiple dwelling, in which the customer purchases metered gas from a utility for resale to the tenants through the master meter system which is beyond the control of the utility and is owned or operated by another entity. "Multiple dwelling" is defined in the bill as any privately-owned or publicly-financed or government-owned building consisting of residential housing of at least four units, and including any apartment, cooperative, or condominium, that completed construction or rehabilitation on or after the effective date of the bill. The bill provides that apportionment of the costs of gas service to the tenants of a multiple dwelling utilizing a master meter system is to be consistent with the provisions of P.L.1991, c.453 (C.55:13A-7.8 et seq.). Under that law, any method or device used, or intended to be used, for the indirect apportionment of heating costs in a multiple dwelling is subject to approval by the Commissioner of Community Affairs. The bill provides that the rate applicable for gas service to a tenant of a multiple dwelling utilizing a master meter system is not to exceed either the rate of gas service to any other residential customer of a gas utility or the rate paid by the customer to the gas utility, whichever is less. Any dispute between the utility customer and the tenant that can not be resolved between the parties, as to the apportionment of the costs of gas service to the tenant of a multiple dwelling utilizing a master meter system, is to be referred to the Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs, or to a court of competent jurisdiction. The bill further provides that, during the pendency of the resolution of a dispute between the customer and tenant on gas service cost apportionment filed with the Division of Codes and Standards (division) in the Department of Community Affairs or in a court of competent jurisdiction, an eviction action is not to be undertaken by the dwelling's owner over the apportionment of gas costs, limited to the amount in dispute, and that, upon the resolution of the dispute by either the division or a court of competent jurisdiction, any gas charge amounts found to be due and owing by a tenant to the dwelling owner shall then entitle the owner to proceed with normal collection actions for the resolved gas costs up to and including an eviction action or proceeding against the tenant. The bill also permits the use of sub-metering, including the use of a volumetric metering device, for use in measuring gas consumption within a unit of a multiple dwelling, in addition to any other approved device or method for measurement under P.L.1991, c.453 (C.55:13A-7.8 et seq.). In addition, the bill provides that an eligible tenant will continue to be eligible for both electric and gas service benefits under the "Universal Service Fund" (USF) and that gas costs metered by a customer's sub-metering and charged to a tenant is to be treated as an eligibility documented gas service in lieu of gas utility service. Nothing in this bill relieves the customer of the customer's liability for payment for gas service to the utility. Further, nothing in the bill is to supersede any municipal rent control, stabilization or leveling ordinance, or any other municipal rent regulation.
Telecommunications and Utilities
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified