CHATHAM TWP – In light of the Township’s experience with the power outages associated with Tropical Storm Isaias and continuing concerns expressed by residents on power reliability in general, the Township Committee passed a resolution opposing JCP&L’s request for a rate increase. The vote was 4-1 in favor with Committee member and utility liaison Karen Swartz dissenting.
“We are frustrated, our residents are frustrated and it is time that JCP&L provides a plan to improve power reliability and infrastructure in the Township,” said Deputy Mayor Tracy Ness. “JCP&L failed to meet the standards issued by the BPU in its July 2018 order which was to provide more localized estimates on the restoration of service, infrastructure investments and better allocation of resources during storms. The BPU needs to hold the utility accountable.”
JCP&L is requesting a rate increase of 8.5% which will be heard by the Board of Public Utilities on September 10th. The resolution in opposition cites: poor storm preparedness causing crews to be unused or improperly assigned to streets where forestry had not yet cleared trees/power lines; critical functions such as our storm water treatment stations and firehouse that were running on generators for four days after the storm; that there has been a lack of investment to infrastructure which has resulted in frequent power outages and insufficient communication regarding power restoration for the municipality and residents.
“The intent is not to punish JCP&L for serious and expensive storm repairs. However, energy usage and costs have been decreasing and now is not the time to ask for an increase in base energy costs,” said Mayor Michael Kelly.
Members of the township committee will be on the call and are urging residents to participate to share their experiences and expectations for the utility. According to the JCP&L and BPU websites, telephonic hearings will be held for JCP&L's Base Rate Filing on Sept. 10 at 1:30pm with a call in number of 646-558-8656, Meeting ID: 831 3602 2681 (#), Password: 606471 and at 5:30pm with a call in number of 646-558-8656, Meeting ID: 850 3504 5469 (#), Password: 585696.
Written comments may also be submitted to the Board of Public Utilities by mail or email. More info: http://spr.ly/6181GmVpv.
“Now is the time to ask for the infrastructure investments especially with the need so great with people working and learning from home,” said Mrs. Ness. “We hope that residents can find the time to make their voices heard to the BPU.”