News Article

Sandy Won't Cause Immediate Hike In Electric Bills

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
November 16, 2012

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Don’t expect an immediate increase in your electric bill because of the costs of restoring power after Hurricane Sandy and the recent nor’easter.

Utilities efforts to recover their expenses have to be part of a basic rate increase request to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Those cases usually take a year or more to decide.

Stefanie Brand is the director of the state Division of Rate Counsel which represents utility customers. She wants to make sure a rate increase will be as low as it can be.

 “The last thing we want to do here is have the people who are the victims of this storm become victims again because the rates double or triple.”

Brand says any rate hike should be spread out over time to reduce the impact on customers who already pay the sixth highest electric rates in the nation.

She also wants to make sure electric companies were spending what they should have to minimize the impact of a storm.

“I want to make sure that they were investing in infrastructure as they were supposed to be because we were giving them money to do that, and I want to make sure that they were complying with the BPU’s regulations on things like tree trimming etc.”

As a result of a rate hike approved last month, Atlantic City Electric is starting to collect an additional $7 million from its customers because of the costs of restoring power after Hurricane Irene last year.

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