NEWARK — For the first time in eight years, PSE&G is applying for a rate increase — which it says will be used for infrastructure repair and improvements.

The company said it is applying for an increase of approximately 1 percent, which would mean the average customer would pay $19.70 more each year. If the increase is approved, the company said, customers will still pay less than they did in 2010, the last time the company applied for an increase.

"Our customer bills are already among the lowest in the state — and that won't change," PSE&G president and COO David Daly said. "Together with passing along savings from recent tax law changes, we've been able to minimize the impact on our customers."

Daly said that since 2010 the utility has "made significant capital investments to upgrade, modernize, and strengthen our electric and gas systems to make them more reliable and resilient."

He said the current application will continue that effort as well as cover costs from previous storms that the company has deferred paying for until now.

The application also includes a rate design change that PSE&G calls the "Green Enabling Mechanism," which it says is meant to encourage energy efficiency. The mechanism "will remove the incentive to sell more energy and will instead encourage utility investments in energy efficiency, renewables and other clean energy technologies that will ultimately benefit all customers by bringing down bills and reducing emissions." the company said in a statement.

The company said it expects the new rates and the new mechanism to go into effect in October of this year.

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