JCP&L seeks rate hike to support continued service reliability enhancements, recover storm-related costs
MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) Tuesday filed an electric rate plan with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that will support service reliability enhancements made by the utility in recent years as well as recover costs incurred to restore power to customers following severe storms.
Since Jan. 1, 2016, JCP&L has invested $1 billion, including capital projects, to strengthen its electric system and meet reliability standards set by the BPU. Projects include reinforcing electric infrastructure on the Barrier Islands, completing substation flood mitigation, deploying equipment that automatically transfers customers to adjacent circuits if an issue is detected, and accelerating vegetation management work designed to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.
JCP&L also incurred significant costs related to power restoration following numerous storm events since its last rate case, including Winter Storms Riley and Quinn in March 2018, Winter Storm Quiana in February 2019 and Winter Storm Ezekiel in December 2019. By the end of 2019, JCP&L’s accumulated unrecovered storm costs had grown to more than $300 million.
“Since 2016, we have made investments in our infrastructure that benefit customers by enhancing the resiliency of our system, and that grid hardening work will continue to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of our customers,” said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. “The same concept applies to ensuring recovery of recent storm-related costs. With more frequent severe weather events expected in the years ahead, we need to be prepared to deploy the resources necessary to restore service to customers as safely and quickly as possible.”
Upon approval of the filing, JCP&L customers would continue to pay the lowest residential electric rates among New Jersey’s four regulated electric distribution companies. The result would be an 8.5 percent overall rate increase for the average JCP&L residential customer using 766 kilowatt hours per month – a monthly increase of $8.73.
Under this filing, JCP&L would also offer new options for municipal LED streetlights, consistent with Governor Murphy’s recently released Energy Master Plan, which encourages increased adoption of this more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly lighting technology.