Ocean County Officials To Make Requests of JCP&L

Hotline, power grid inspection will be on the table at meeting

Ocean County officials next week will have a long-awaited meeting with representatives from the electrical utility that serves the majority of county residents.

The county and its freeholder board, particularly Freeholder Director Joe Vicari, has been tough on Jersey Central Power & Light since Superstorm Sandy struck. Vicari has also staunchly opposed a proposed $736 million rate hike that would raise energy bills about 4.5 percent.

In the planned meeting, Vicari said this week, county officials will request the utility reinspect the county's electrical grid following a patchwork of repairs made in Sandy's wake and figure out a better way to get street light outages fixed.

Local officials have expressed to their county counterparts that they'd like a hotline where they can immediately get in touch with JCP&L with regard to consumer complaints and other issues.

"Fire services also want an easier way to get in touch," said Vicari.

After Sandy struck in Oct. 2012, the utility was roundly criticized for what some saw as a slow response to fix resulting power outages. Others criticized a lack of capital improvements to the Shore area's power grid and equipment.

The utility and the staff of the BPU reached a tentative deal in late February raise rates 4.5 percent to cover JCP&L's costs stemming from the hurricanes Irene and Sandy and several nor'easters. The hike requires the approval of the full board before it can be implemented.

“This request from the utility company is unreasonable and I urge the BPU not to place another financial burden on our residents,” said Vicari in a letter to the board.

Vicari previously asked for a moratorium on rate hikes in storm-stricken communities.

JCP&L says it needs the rate hike to cover $736 million in repair bills. If the increase is approved by the BPU, the average customer's bill would go up by about $4.41 per month, NJ.com previously reported.
sam pinto March 13, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Mac March 13, 2014 at 01:36 PM
while I certainly side with our Freeholders on this issue and support their efforts to strike down this corporate gouging of irresponsible greedy practices, I urge our Freeholders not to use their leadership skills as a model for JCP&L to follow - perhaps if the CEO of JCP&L took Freeholder Vicari off of hold for Joe's Hurricane Irene complaints, the big concern over the Freeholders being able to get in touch with the utility faster would be answered
anonymous March 13, 2014 at 09:07 PM
Power company's are the richest company's in the world dont let them lie about why they have to have rate hikes. If you dont believe us just try to live without them for 1 day. No morning coffee , no laptop, no cable, no lights. Everyone you know or will ever know is a customer. Imagine if your market was this big. They lie and they have help. These are hard times for many people who do not deserve a kick in the nuts right now. Do not take anymore rate hikes no matter what they say, they lie and when you confront them they lie to your face.-------- anonymous
Silver dollar March 13, 2014 at 09:19 PM
How many times do the rate payers pay for there up grades. and in return they don't up grade the product .They are nickel and dimeing us to death. Mr freeholder tell JCPA&L to go to hell.
anonymous March 13, 2014 at 11:26 PM
Thank you Silver dollar You see the whole picture. Please tell others and stop this from happening. ----- anonymous


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