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In re Promulgation of Rules of Practice and Regulations for Office of Cable Television

Decided: December 26, 1974.

IN THE MATTER OF THE PROMULGATION OF RULES OF PRACTICE AND REGULATIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF CABLE TELEVISION; NEW JERSEY CABLE TELEVISION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT


Leonard, Seidman and Bischoff.

Per Curiam

[132 NJSuper Page 46] An Office of Cable Television was established within the Department of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) by statute effective December 15, 1972. N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq. The Acting Director of the Office

of Cable Television (hereafter Director), through the Board of Public Utility Commissioners (Board), issued an order promulgating rules and regulations for the Office of Cable Television within the Department of Public Utilities. Prior to promulgation, the proposed rules had been published, comments thereon received and a hearing held. The New Jersey Cable Television Association had filed written comments on the proposed regulations along with suggestions for changes and was represented at the hearings. After the rules and regulations were approved, it filed a motion for reconsideration, rehearing and reargument. The motion was denied. This appeal followed.

The association argues on this appeal that certain of the regulations adopted are invalid. The regulations thus attacked provide:

(1) "deposits to insure credit" must be maintained in separate accounts and used only for the maintenance of subscriber accounts (Reg. 14:507-1);

(2) simple interest at the rate of at least 6% per annum must be paid on deposits held more than 6 months (Reg. 14:507-1);

(3) "at least 15 days time for each payment shall be allowed after sending a bill" (Reg. 14:507-5E);

(4) at least 15 days written notice of intention to discontinue service must be given if the service is to be discontinued for non-payment of bills (Reg. 14:507-5E).

The association contends, first, that the Director lacks legislative authority to promulgate rules and regulations concerning consumer deposits. This argument proceeds as follows. The statute provides:

Reference is then made to N.J.S.A. 48:2-29.5 which deals with consumer deposits and grants authority to the PUC

to adopt rules and regulations with respect to them. The argument continues with the conclusion that if there was no authority to regulate consumer deposits contained within the broad grant of power delegated to the PUC, it does not exist in the grant of authority issued to the Office of Cable Television absent a specific provision similar to that contained in N.J.S.A. 48:2-29.5. It is conceded such a provision is here missing. Therefore, the association contends the regulation on consumer deposits is ultra vires and invalid.

We do not think the power delegated can be so narrowly construed. The broad public policy to be fostered by the statute is set forth in N.J.S.A. 48:5A-2 and the means by which this public policy is to be implemented is detailed in N.J.S.A. 48:5A-10. The authority of the Director and the Board under the Act expressly includes the power to "supervise and regulate" the "contracts" entered into by every CATV company. N.J.S.A. 48:5A-9(b). In order to discharge its responsibilities under ...


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