Outrage in Trenton over billions in proposed utility rate hikes
TRENTON — Consumer and environmental groups showed up Wednesday at the Statehouse with 23,000 postcard petitions calling on the governor and the state Board of Public Utilities to keep a lid on the state's utility rates.
"Consumers throughout New Jersey ... are facing $12 billion dollars in utility rate increases," said Evelyn Liebman of AARP New Jersey.
The AARP was joined by other groups, including Environment New Jersey, The New Jersey Main Street Alliance, The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey and the Sierra Club of New Jersey.
The petitions urge Gov. Phil Murphy and the BPU to oppose the rate hikes proposed by the state's utility companies.
Among the rate hikes the groups are opposing:
- An increase approved Wednesday that would allow Atlantic City Electric to increase rates by $7 a month or $84 a year.
- $6.6 billion more in rate hikes for Public Service Electric & Gas.
- $900 million more for a "nuclear tax" on every electric customer in the state.
- $387 million in rate increases for Jersey Central Power & Light.
- $1 billion to subsidize the electric vehicle market.
- $2.5 billion more for costs associated with a new clean energy law.
- $500 million in proposed rate hikes for Elizabethtown Gas.
A spokesman for the coalition of groups said it is "unknown when all these increases could become effective — some are pending before the Board now."
Also, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the results of an early February electricity auction that will increase the average electric bills as follows:
- 38 cents per month for PSE&G customers.
- 90 center per month for Atlantic City Electric users.
Liebman says as things stand now, New Jersey is home to the 9th-highest electric rates in the contiguous United States.