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Utility Assistance in NJ At-A-Glance (PDF)
New Jersey Guide to Meeting Basic Utility Needs
NJ Board of Public Utilities
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is a regulatory authority with a statutory mandate to ensure safe, adequate, and proper utility services at reasonable rates for customers in New Jersey. BPU regulates critical services such as natural gas, electricity, water, and telecommunications and cable television; addresses issues of consumer protection, energy reform, deregulation of energy and telecommunications services and the restructuring of utility rates to encourage energy conservation and competitive pricing in the industry; and is responsible for monitoring utility service and responding to consumer complaints.
Its Division of Customer Assistance handles verbal and written disputes, interviews and information inquiries. Customers may contact the Division with complaints regarding service delays, lack of service, appliance repairs, discontinuance of service, payment arrangements, high bills, deposit requests, and incurred rates/high rates. Emergency assistance is also available for gas leaks, fallen wires and water main breaks.
Toll Free Number for Utility Complaints: 1.800.624.0241 (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Out of State Callers: 1.609.341.9188
Office of Clean Energy: 1.866.NJSMART (657.6278)
Cable Complaint: 1.800.624.0331
The following utility Customer's Bill of Rights is a synopsis of the most frequently cited sections of the New Jersey Administrative Code Title 14, Chapter 3. The Utility Customer's Bill of Rights is not meant to replace the regulations contained in N.J.A.C. 14:3 but is intended to give the utility customer a concise plain language guide to the regulations. Any application of the Utility Customer's Bill of Rights must be consistent with the regulations as contained in N.J.A.C. 14:3.
Be a smart consumer, know your rights
Filing a Complaint
- You have the right to utility service if you are a qualified applicant.
- You shall not be asked to pay unreasonably high deposits as a condition of service, nor to make unreasonable payments on past due bills.
- You have the right to budget billing, or payment plans if you are an electric, or gas customer.
- You are entitled to at least one deferred plan in one year.
- You have the right to have any complaint against your utility handled promptly by that utility.
- You have the right to investigate your utility complaints and inquiries. Your service may not be terminated for non-payment of disputed charges during a BPU investigation.
- If you suspect it is not working properly, you have the right to have your meter tested, free of charge, once a year by your utility. For a $5 fee the meter test will be conducted under the supervision of the staff of the BPU.
- You have the right to a written notice of termination, ten days prior to the discontinuance of service.
- Residential service may be shut-off, after proper notice, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A utility may not shut-off residential service on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or a holiday or the day before a holiday or if a valid medical emergency exists in your household.
- Winter Termination Program - If you are an elderly or low income customer having financial problems paying your bill you should request the company to enroll you in a budget plan in accordance with your ability to pay. You are required to make good faith payments of all reasonable bills for service and in return are assured of the right to have gas and electric utilities service from November 15, to March 15 without fear of termination of such service.
- If you live in a multi-family dwelling, you have the right to receive posted notice of any impending shutoff. This notice must be posted in a common area and/or sent individually to occupants.
- You have the right to have a "diversion of service" investigation if you suspect that the level of consumption reflected in your utility bill is unexplainably high.
- Service shall not be shut-off for non-payment of repair charges, merchandise charges or yellow page charges nor shall notice threatening such discontinuance be given.
- You have the option of having a deposit refund applied to your account as a credit or of having the deposit refunded by separate check.
Customers may contact the Division with complaints regarding service related matters, appliance repairs, discontinuance of service, payment arrangements, high bills, deposit requests, and incurred utility or high rates. Emergency assistance is available for gas leaks, fallen wires and water main breaks. In addition to maintaining local (609-341-9188) and toll free (800-624-0241) telephone numbers, the Division utilizes an Electronic Data Interchange System, which enables major utilities to receive complaints instantaneously over high-speed data lines.
File a Complaint Online
The Division of Customer Assistance reviews online complaints daily.
Please direct your written complaints to:
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
Request a Formal Hearing
Division of Customer Assistance
44 South Clinton Avenue (9th Floor)
PO Box 350
Trenton, NJ 08625-0350
Under the Board's Rules of Practice, N.J.A.C. 14:1-1, et seq., you may file a petition which is a request for a formal hearing. For complete directions, click here
Pick up the phone and dial 2-1-1 when you need help.
You are encouraged to dial “2-1-1” 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you need help in understanding and finding available assistance services. Language translation and TTY services are offered to any caller. You can also
search the database of services in your local community or Chat Live with an experienced community resource specialist. 2-1-1 will help identify with you the best local resources to fit your individual needs during times of financial distress or for life’s everyday situations.
If you know of additional resources that would be appropriate to include, please let us know by contacting us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research Sources Include:
Page last reviewed/modified 9.26.13