Translator Disclaimers

Q. Where do I file a complaint?

A. If you are complaining about a utility, we recommend that you try to resolve the complaint by contacting the utility directly before registering your complaint with us. If you are unable to resolve your dispute with the utility, then you may file your complaint with us using mail, phone, email or fill out our on-line complaint form.

Q. What must I specify in a written complaint?

A. Specify
Your name
Service Address
Mailing address and phone number
Name and utility you are complaining about
Your utility account number (if applicable)
A brief description of your complaint

Q. How can I dispute the charges on my utility bill?

A. If you believe your bill is incorrect, contact the utility's customer service department immediately at the telephone number printed on the bill. If you are not satisfied with the company's response you may file a complaint with the BPU.

Q. What is regulated by the BPU?

A. The BPU regulates over electric, gas, water, telecommunication, and cable in the state of New Jersey. The BPU has a statutory mandate to ensure safe, adequate and proper utility services at reasonable rates for customers in New Jersey.

Q. What utility aspects does the BPU regulate?

A. The BPU monitors the rates, charges, rules and regulations of most electric, natural gas, water, cable and telecommunication utilities operating within the state of New Jersey.

Q. What are my rights as a utility customer?

A. As a residential customer of a regulated utility in New Jersey, have the utility Customer’s Bill of Rights, which is a synopsis of the most frequently cited sections of the New Jersey Administrative Code Title 14, Chapter.  Consumer Bill of Rights

Q. What should I do if I think there is something wrong with my utility meter?

A. You have a right to request a regulated gas, electric or water company to test your meter if you feel it may not accurately reflect your usage. 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.

Q. If I have been billed incorrectly, what should I do?

A. The first thing you should do if you feel you have been billed incorrectly is contact the company. Utility companies are obligated to thoroughly investigate the matter and report the results to you. If you are not satisfied with the actions taken by the utility to remedy the situation, contact the BPU’s Division of Customer Assistance

Q: What is "slamming." How can I keep this from happening to me?

A: Slamming is when your long distance or local telephone company is changed without your knowing about it. It’s illegal in New Jersey, and violators are subject to penalties. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

How to Avoid Being Slammed
Be a smart consumer:

  • Always examine your phone bill immediately and thoroughly.
  • Be aware of the ways in which companies are legally permitted to change your telephone service. The rules require companies to obtain your clear permission before such a change.
  • "Freeze" your telephone service provider. Consumers can call their local phone company's business office and request a "freeze" of their long distance and local toll carriers where available. By "freezing" your service to your chosen company, your calls may not be carried on another company's network without your verbal or written authorization.
  • Confirm your current provider. Make sure you know which company is currently providing your long distance or local toll telephone service. That company's name and phone number will appear on your phone bill. If the information is different from what you think it should be, alert your local phone company and your preferred regional toll/long distance carrier.
  • Be cautious when receiving calls or filling out materials about changing your telephone service provider.
  • If contacted by a telemarketer regarding your telephone service, be sure you get the name of the company, the telephone number and the name of the person with whom you are speaking (along with a clear explanation of the purpose of the call). Also, be clear about which type of service for which you are authorizing a change. Frequently, telemarketers will not specify which type of service they are marketing, and then will switch your local toll/regional service along with your long distance service.
  • Read the small print on all solicitations before signing them.

Q. I am being charged by a long distance phone company listed that I never heard of and I didn’t agree to change companies. What do I do?

A. It sounds as if you could be a victim of "slamming." This happens when your long distance or local telephone company is changed without your realizing it.

Here’s what to do:

  • Call your local phone company to tell them your long distance company was changed without your consent. Ask to be reconnected to your preferred carrier and to have any charges for switching companies dropped.
  • Call the company that slammed you to tell them you don’t want their service and that you’ll only pay the rates your preferred carrier would charge. You may be due an adjustment on your bill.
  • Call your preferred carrier to let them know you were slammed. Ask to be reconnected at no charge.
  • Call the BPU to report being slammed and to help if you don’t receive cooperation from the company that slammed you.

Q. I received notice that my electric will be disconnected for non-payment. What can I do?

A. There are various assistance programs available to New Jersey customers.

The Winter Termination Program is in effect from November 15 through March 15. The program prevents residential gas and electric customers who qualify from having their gas or electric service disconnected during the winter months. For more information on this program please call (800)792-9745. Other programs provided are the Lifeline Program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Universal Service Fund (USF) program, TRUE Program (Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses), New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral Energy Service, Inc (NJSHARES). Information on all these programs is available by calling Customer Assistance

Q. I can't pay my heating bill. Who can I contact for help?

A. Whenever you have problems paying your bill, you should first contact your utility service provider who can often work with you in establishing payment arrangements, or provide a listing of community resources that may be able to help. If you are still in need of financial assistance, BPU’s Division of Customer Assistance, (800)624-0241, can provide information on state government agencies and referrals to community resources.

 

Q. If I am unable to pay my entire telephone bill, what can I do to maintain local dial tone?

A. As long as you pay your monthly bill for local service and for toll calls in your area, a telephone company cannot disconnect your local dial tone for charges owed to long-distance companies. Restrictions can be set in place that will prohibit you from making long-distance calls from your phone, local calls will not be affected.

Q. Can I restrict the use of my phone from long-distance calls?

A. Yes. The company will restrict long-distance calls from your telephone on request. Your local company may charge a fee for this service. If you fail to pay long-distance charges, the company also has the right to restrict your long-distance service.

Q. What programs are available to help me if I am injured or very ill and/or become financially unable to pay my utility bills?

A. Many programs are available to help people hook up to or continue receiving service. Federal programs, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program help gas and electricity customers, and New Jersey telephone assistance programs provide for installation of telephone services.

 Gas and electric companies also have programs available which are funded by stockholders and customer contributions to help those who need financial help with their energy bills.

Each year utility companies must supply their customers with certain information, including where to go for financial assistance with utility bills. If you need assistance and did not receive notification, contact your utility company.
 

Q. How much notice does a utility have to give me before my service can be disconnected?

A. A customer has 15 days from the postmark date of a bill to pay the bill. If no payment is made, a discontinuance notice is issued providing the customer with an additional 10 days from the postmark on the notice to pay the bill. The notice informs the customer that service will be terminated on a certain date if payment is not made. Service may not be terminated for failure to pay disputed charges, if non-disputed charges are paid and customer agrees to resolve disputed charges with 30 days have notifying the energy service provider of the dispute.

Q. If I contact the utility company about a complaint or problem and I don’t agree with their answer, is there someplace else I can get help?

A. If you disagree with the way a utility handled your complaint or problem you may contact the BPUs division of customer assistance at (800)624-0241.

Q. Where can I find assistance in starting or expanding a business in New Jersey?

A. New Jersey . . . Open for Business provides extensive information about starting or expanding a business in New Jersey.

Q. How do I make a complaint about electric, natural gas or water utilities?

A. Call (800)624-0241 (from outside NJ call (973)648-2350) or fill out an online complaint form.  

 

Q. How do I make a complaint about cable TV?

A. Call (800)624-0331 or file an online complaint form online complaint form.

 

Q. Can the NJBPU help my home or business become more energy efficient?

A. Yes! Visit our Office of Clean Energy at www.njcleanenergy.com or call (866)NJSMART.

 

Q. Can the NJBPU help me explore renewable energy?

A. Yes! Visit our Office of Clean Energy www.njcleanenergy.com or call (866)NJSMART.

 

Q. Can I choose my energy supplier?

A. Yes. Click here for a list of gas suppliers and electricity suppliers.

 

Q. Can I attend a meeting of the NJ Board of Public Utilities?

A. Yes. The board holds regular open session meetings that are open to the public.

 

Q. Does the NJBPU regulate satellite TV?

A. No. The NJBPU does not regulate satellite TV.