After seeing poor grades from the Senate Budget committee on their response to superstorm Sandy, JCP&L was taken to task for looking raise their rates 1.2% to cover the costs of damages sustained by the system during Hurricane Irene and the freak October snowstorm of last year…with the proviso that they will probably add in costs due to Hurricane Sandy later as well.

And it will be interesting to see if the BPU goes along with this request.

What’s your guess?

Originally I said they'd rubber stamp the request, and while that's not completely out of the question, Board President Robert Hanna expressed the view today that their request was merely that...a request.

He cited recent reports that much of the company's profit gets sent back to its Ohio headquarters.

According to this,

If approved by the state Board of Public Utilities, the proposed $31 million rate request will add 1.2 percent to the average JCP&L residential customer’s bill. It amounts to $1.51 for a residential customer who uses 650 kilowatts of electricity a month, hiking the bill from $98.10 to $99.61.

The proposed rate increase, which was scheduled to be filed before Sandy hit, comes as some Jersey Shore residents are raw after being without power following Sandy.
JCP&L said it was complying with a BPU order from earlier this year for the company to file what is known as a base rate case, which details its spending on operations, such as the delivery of electricity to homes, maintenance and capital investment.

Earlier this year, the state Division of Rate Counsel raised concerns about JCP&L’s performance since 2005, the last time the utility asked to raise rates.

A study by a rate counsel consultant, which reviewed public documents, found that JCP&L is potentially earning $86 million to $90 million more annually than it should under its rate regulation. Officials could not say how much that would mean to an average consumer’s electric bill.

In its filing on Friday, JCP&L also added the costs associated with restoring power to customers after Irene, which was a tropical storm when it hit the state, and the October snowstorm of 2011. JCP&L has said damage from the two storms cost the company $164 million in repairs.

And no doubt the storms we've had were unprecedented.

But I have to believe that their costs probably would not have been as great as had they invested much of their profit into infrastructure maintenance.

How much of their profit do you think actually went into maintaining the infrastructure, which, as we’ve heard over and over from out of state crews who've helped get us back on line was woefully outdated?

I’m guessing not much.

I think we can all agree that the company needs to update its infrastructure so as to prevent the kind of outages we’ve had to endure…but do you feel the rate hike is warranted...especially at a time when we're all still trying to get on our feet?

Personally, no!

And the reason being is because of the above statement:

"A study by a rate counsel consultant, which reviewed public documents, found that JCP&L is potentially earning $86 million to $90 million more annually than it should under its rate regulation. Officials could not say how much that would mean to an average consumer’s electric bill!"

And, by the way, I just got my bill, and it's up from last month.

Chutzpah...plain and simple!

Do you feel the Board of Public Utilities should grant JCP&L the 1.2% rate hike they’re seeking?