TRENTON, N.J. – Today, the Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved a rate increase for Jersey Central Power & Light that will impact ratepayers beginning November 1 next year. BPU President Joe Fiordaliso also announced that they would be initiating a management audit of JCP&L to review their finances and operations – a request in Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s resolution introduced last week.
“JCP&L has been failing its customers despite increases in rates that are supposed to be used to fix the company’s response to storm outages,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “While I’m disappointed that they are moving forward with this increase, I’m relieved that the BPU has initiated an investigation. It’s something I pushed for in my resolution. It is more than warranted given JCP&L’s service history and the financial dealings of their parent company.”
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, which is being investigated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for potential ties to a $60 million bribery scheme. Dancer’s resolution (AR198) calls on the BPU to confirm that revenue from JCP&L was not improperly diverted to an illegal enterprise.
“We must protect the ratepayers. Our residents deserve and should expect safe and reliable utility service,” said Dancer.
A nearly 4 percent rate increase in 2017 was to be invested in upgrading infrastructure; however, more than 50 percent of JCP&L’s 1.1 million customers were affected by power outages for several days following Tropical Storm Isaias. Testifying before the Senate Law and Public Safety committee on October 19, Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik said that JCP&L’s response to Isaias resulted in extended power outages, slowed repair work, poor communication and inaccurate restoration estimates.
The revenue JCP&L raises from this latest approved rate increase is budgeted for a variety of purposes including vegetation management and LED street lights.