Monmouth lawmakers take skeptical look at JCP&L request for rate increases

Monmouth lawmakers take skeptical look at JCP&L request for rate increases

Serena DiMaso

TRENTON, N.J. – Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger are calling on the state Board of Public Utilities to thoroughly evaluate a request from Jersey Central Power & Light to increase electric rates.

“We call on the BPU and the state rate counsel to thoroughly vet this request. Our first reaction to any call to raise costs on ratepayers must be skepticism. Has every effort been made to lower and control costs?” asked O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “We acknowledge that investments in infrastructure upgrades that we’ve called for take resources, but cost savings must be exhausted before any approval of rate increases takes place.”

On Tuesday, JCP&L filed a request with the state BPU to raise $186 million from ratepayers to cover the costs of improvements to its electric network. If approved, electric bills will increase 8.5 percent for most customers.

“We’ve seen some improvements but are concerned about how this rate increase will impact our already beleaguered residents,” DiMaso continued (R-Monmouth). “Infrastructure upgrades are important for mitigating storm outages and aiding reliability. However, increased costs should always be met with cautious concern. Ultimately the BPU and rate counsel serve as protection for residents from unfair increases and we hope that they will look critically at this request.”

Gerry Scharfenberger

“Our residents should not bear the burden of more financial weight being placed upon them,” said Scharfenberger (R-Monmouth). “New Jersey taxpayers already struggle paycheck-to-paycheck due to Trenton’s constant mismanagement and should not have to carry more from utility companies.”

The three legislators concluded with a joint statement, “Over the years we’ve worked hard with JCP&L executives to begin to fix the issues plaguing our electric utility. At the end of the day, we need to ensure that those investments are being made in the most efficient way possible that least impact our constituent ratepayers.”