Home>Governor>Brian Lipman is new Ratepayer Advocate

Gov. Phil Murphy, left, with the new state Ratepayer Advocate, Brian O. Lipman. (Photo: New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel).

Brian Lipman is new Ratepayer Advocate

Murphy taps career state employee to represent consumers on utility rate increases

By David Wildstein, November 24 2021 2:27 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy has named Brian Lipman as the state’s new Ratepayer Advocate, a post that could have tremendous influence over the next four years as Murphy prepares to implement his clean energy plan during his second term in office.

The ratepayer advocate post – officially the director of the Division of Rate Counsel – is responsible for representing the interests of consumers on issues related to utility price increases.

“New Jersey is going through significant changes in utility service,” Lipman said.  “It is important to be cognizant of how much this transition will cost, and to make sure we’re doing this in a way that is cost effective, maximizes the benefits to ratepayers and keeps utility service affordable while continuing the state’s efforts toward clean energy and water.”

Lipman will replace Stefanie Brand, who retired in September.

A former deputy attorney general who represented the Board of Public Utilities, Lipman has spent the last eight years as litigation manager for the division.  He began his career as a law clerk in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office and as an associate at Genova, Burns.

Michael Makarski, a spokesman for ELEC 825, an arm of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, and the Affordable Energy for NJ Coalition, says that New Jerseyans need an accounting of what Murphy’s plan will cost.

“With the state racing toward the largest energy transition and mass electrification in history, we hope the new Ratepayer Advocate’s first priority is to actually disclose the cost of the Energy Master Plan  — something that has yet to happen in the 667 days since the plan was presented, Makarski said.

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