Shareholders, Not Ratepayers, Should Shoulder Costs of PSE&G Solar Proposal

March 1, 2013 – In The News
NJ Spotlight

The new proposal to promote solar energy in New Jersey is being contested by the rate Counsel’s office because it relies on surcharges on ratepayers’ bills to finance most of the cost of the program. That strategy, according to the state agency, shifts the risk to ratepayers, rather than shareholders, while still guaranteeing the utility a generous rate of return on investment.

This detail is especially concerning to consumer advocates, because it reflects a growing trend among utilities to pay for projects with surcharges on customer bills, instead of investing the company’s capital. That approach, they argue, has added millions of dollars to ratepayers’ bills.

Steven Goldenberg, an attorney who represents large energy users who have high electric and gas bills, concurred. “The bottom line is they want to shift all the risk to ratepayers and those of us who have to pay for it are not interested in paying for it,’’ he said.

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