The Star-Ledger

JCP&L To Charge More For Energy Use

The Star-Ledger — Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By DANNY TEIGMAN / STAR-LEDGER STAFF

Electric rates for thousands of New Jersey customers will rise if they don't lower their energy usage.

Starting next month, Jersey Central Power & Light will begin charging its high-energy users — those using more than 2,500 kilowatt hours per month — an additional 9 cents per kilowatt hour until September as part of a program to promote energy savings and reduce peak demand.

Customers using 3,000 kilowatt hours per month will see their summer electric bill increase by $180.80, said JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano. However, lower off-season rates from October through May for a typical high-end user will result in a yearly net increase of $58.64.

Earlier this month, the utility began notifying by letter about 91,000 customers whose electric usage peaked above 2,400 kilowatt hours during at least one summer month last year of the potential increase. Of those contacted, 44,000 of them would have exceeded this year's 2,500 kilowatt hour cap and are at risk for paying more this summer.

"The vast majority of our customers are not affected by this program," Morano said. "It's for customers who use more than three times what a typical residential customer uses on average per month."

Morano said the program will affect about 9 percent of the utilities' 1.1 million customers.

The number of people seeing a rate increase did not concern Ev Liebman, the director of organizing and advocacy for New Jersey Citizen Action, a watchdog group that has often criticized rising electric rates. She supported the idea of "conservation rates" — charging high energy users more than other customers.

Morristown-based JCP&L serves customers in 13 counties.

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