EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc. v. City of ConcordAnnotate this Case
Respondent City of Concord appealed a superior court order that denied it summary judgment in favor of Petitioner EnergyNorth National Gas (d/b/a National Grid NH, or "National Grid"). The City argued that the trial court erroneously determined that RSA 231:185 (2009) and RSA 236:11 (2009) preempted the City's ordinance authorizing it to charge certain roadway fees. The issue between the parties arose from National Grid's desire to excavate certain streets to install, maintain or replace its underground pipes that delivered natural gas. The fees covered damage for damages arising from the excavation. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that granting summary judgment in favor of National Grid was in error. The City argued that its roadway fees are consistent with the pertinent statutes because they "cover[ ] maintenance costs to repair the roadway after it has been initially patched, which [are] used to restore the excavated roadway to the condition that existed prior to the excavation." The Court was not persuaded that when the legislature enacted the statutes at issue, it made any assumption or finding, implied or otherwise, as to whether repaving a paved excavated roadway restored the roadway's original life expectancy. The Court was thus left with a factual dispute whether patching an excavated roadway with new pavement diminished or restored its original life expectancy. Because of that "genuine issue of material fact," the Court remanded the case for further proceedings.