• County sues AC Electric over dispute


    BRIDGETON The county has taken a public utility to court after it allegedly backtracked on an agreement to move power lines next to the Cumberland County Courthouse.

    In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court on Sept. 3, the county demands Atlantic City Electric or its owner, Pepco Holdings Inc., to relocate at the utility's expense high-voltage power lines that the county says are interfering with a construction project.

    The utility company initially agreed to do so, the county alleges in the suit, but apparently changed its mind on Sept. 2, instead demanding the county pay for the work.

    The courthouse is currently undergoing a facade restoration project, and the county seeks to repair the west side of the building, which faces Fayette Street.

    But high-voltage power lines on that side are apparently so close to the construction site that they need to either be moved or de-energized for construction crews to safely work, according to statements in the suit.

    The project would cost an estimated $42,001, which the county says was an amount Atlantic City Electric provided.

    In making its case, the county cites OSHA regulations and the New Jersey High Voltage Proximity Act in arguing that "high voltage lines be moved or that precautionary measures be taken to protect employees from the risk of death or injury during work in close proximity to high voltage power lines."

    The county adds "pursuant to common law, a regulated utility locating power lines within a public right-of-way is required to move the power lines at its expense when needed to perform a public project."

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