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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF THE BOARD’S MAIN EXTENSION RULES N.J.A.C. 14:3-8.1 ET SEQ.A-1626-10T2; A-1640-10T2; A-2026-10T2; A-2227- 10T2(CONSOLIDATED)


IN THE MATTER OF THE BOARD’S MAIN EXTENSION RULES
 N.J.A.C. 14:3-8.1 ET SEQ.A-1626-10T2; A-1640-10T2; A-2026-10T2; A-2227-
10T2(CONSOLIDATED)

In this appeal, we addressed the question of whether, and to what extent, our 2009 opinion in In re Centex Homes, LLC, 411 N.J. Super. 244 (App. Div. 2009) should have retroactive effect. In Centex, we invalidated as ultra vires the 2005 Board of Public Utilities (BPU) regulations known as the Main Extension Rules, N.J.A.C. 14:3-8.1 to -8.13, deeming the Extension Rules an "extreme departure" from the procedures that had been extant for nearly a century. 

 Despite our sweeping invalidation of the Extension Rules, BPU chose to afford our Centex decision only pipeline retroactivity, confining the benefit of Centex to only eighteen developers, and denying the benefit of Centex to hundreds of others.  

 In the present appeals, which we consolidated for purposes of disposition, we conclude that because our opinion in Centex did  not  announce  a  new  rule  of  law,  but  instead accomplished the reinstatement of a well-accepted and well-understood century-long procedure, the pipeline retroactivity ordered by BPU was error.  We held that complete retroactivity of Centex was required. 06-22-12