(732) 239-0739 (cell) (732) 530-6686 (office)
There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Asbury Park Press. It was written by assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, and the title was, “Protest JCP&L’s galling greed, incompetence”. With a title like that, my first thought was that this was just going to be some political grandstanding, but I changed my mind after reading it carefully.
In the article, assemblywoman Casagrande reports that the New Jersey Rate Counsel, a nonpartisan governmental watchdog for ratepayers, reported “credible evidence detailing potentially illegal profits JCP&L has taken from New Jersey ratepayers to send to its parent company in Ohio”. In New Jersey, utilities are permitted to make up to 8.5 percent profit, but the Rate Counsel found that JCP&L had earned 12.37 percent.
There were other interesting facts reported in the article. For example, since 2006, JCP&L has refused to open its books to the Board of Public Utilities, even though most other utilities are reviewed “every couple of years”. A second example: JCP&L didn’t apply for any of the $600 million in state funds designed for infrastructure improvements.
Now JCP&L is asking for a 4.5% rate increase, supposedly to address the damage caused by superstorm Sandy. Assemblywoman Casagrange’s conclusion? “A rate increase is unjustifiable when it appears as if the utility did not make the proper investments while profiting from New Jersey families and businesses”.
You might want to attend one of the last two public hearings on the rate increase proposal. They’re scheduled for this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the Freehold Township Municipal Building. As for me, I’m going to take a closer look at one of those “Lower Your Electric Rate” postcards that we get in the mail. I’ll still have to pay JCP&L’s delivery rate, but maybe someone else should be making the profit on the electricity itself.