Grassroots groups opposed a proposed utility rate increase today delivered 23,000 postcard petitions to Gov. Phil Murphy and the state Board of Public Utilities seeking “fair and affordable” utility rates.
The AARP says that utility companies are seeking rate hikes that total $12 billion, including $6.6 billion for PSE&G and $900 million for a “nuclear tax.”
“New Jersey families are strapped with some of America’s highest utility costs – paying, on average, hundreds of dollars a month for the utility services we all need for basic health and safety,” said Evelyn Liebman, AARP NJ director of advocacy. “Consumers – particularly those living on low and fixed incomes – simply can’t afford to foot $12 billion in rate hikes. These 23,000 residents want Governor Murphy and the BPU to put consumers first – not the interests of energy corporations. They’re calling on our state leaders to be responsible stewards of our hard-earned dollars and ensure that utility prices are affordable, fair and reasonable.”
The AARP opposition to the rate increases has the backing of the state’s top environmental advocates.
Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, says that PSE&G plants are already profitable and the utility giant doesn’t need the money.
“The BPU needs to do its job and not rubber-stamp PSEG’s nuclear subsidies,” said Tittel. “It needs to put a stop on this blank check for massive subsidies for PSEG.”
The state needs to invest ratepayer dollars wisely to build a sustainable economy, says Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.
“Subsidizing profitable nuclear plants is an awful use of ratepayers dollars,” said O’Malley, “A year after the battle over nuclear subsidies, PSEG continues to engage in pitched rhetoric demanding the BPU grant a full $300 million payout. Especially after utilities have said bailout money can be funneled to out-of-state nuclear plants, it is even more imperative that BPU make a decision that puts ratepayers first.”