State of New Jersey

Division of The Ratepayer Advocate
31 Clinton Street, 11th Fl
P. O. Box 46005
Newark, New Jersey 07101




Director and Ratepayer Advocate



In the Matter of the Petition of Public Service Electric and Gas Company
for Approval of an Increase in Gas Rates, Depreciation Rates for Gas Property, and for Changes in the Tariff for Gas Service

BPU Docket No. GR05100845

Mount Holly, New Jersey
May 2, 2006
7:00 p.m.

Good evening. My name is Henry Ogden, and I am an Assistant Deputy Ratepayer Advocate for the New Jersey Division of the Ratepayer Advocate. Our office was created by the New Jersey Legislature to represent ratepayers in cases such as this where a utility seeks an increase in rates or change in services.

On September 30, 2005 Public Service Electric and Gas Company (“Company”) filed a Petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“Board”) seeking approval to increase its rates for natural gas service by $132.8 million. The increase being requested by the Company is for natural gas distribution service, that is, the rates that that cover the costs distributing natural gas through the Company’s natural gas distribution pipelines to end users, and the costs of administering customer accounts such as metering, billing, and customer service. The proposed increase is in addition to the recent rate increases for Basic Gas Supply Service (“BGSS”), which covers the cost of the natural gas commodity purchased by the Company for its customers. The Company is also seeking to make a number of changes to its Board-approved tariff for natural gas service.

The requested rate increase would result in a 3.52 percent increase in the Company’s total revenues for natural gas service. The Company’s Petition states that the requested increase is necessary as a result of capital investments and increases in operation and maintenance expenses since the Company’s last gas base rate case in 2001. The Company is proposing to allocate a larger percentage increase to residential customers than to other customer classes. Under the Company’s proposal, an average monthly bill for a typical residential heating customer using an average of 100 therms per month would increase by about $7.74 per month, or $92.92 per year.

Our office has a team of attorneys and expert consultants analyzing the company’s petition. We are conducting a complete and thorough investigation of the rate increases and other changes being sought by the company. We have requested and are receiving detailed information from the company about their purported needs. At evidentiary hearings, we will cross examine the company’s witnesses and submit evidence. The Ratepayer Advocate is fully aware of the recent increases in energy prices that are having a profound impact on all classes of ratepayers. The Ratepayer Advocate’s inquiry is focused on the critical issue of whether the Company’s proposal allows ratepayers to pay the lowest rates possible consistent with receiving safe, reliable and proper service. However, it is important that you be aware that the ultimate decision regarding all utility matters in New Jersey is made by the Board of Public Utilities.

The purpose of this open public hearing is for you, the customer, to voice your opinion, relate your experiences and offer comments about your Company’s rates and service. It is important that you express your views so they may become part of the record on which the Administrative Law Judge and the Board of Public Utilities make their decisions. The Ratepayer Advocate also needs to hear your views in order to represent your interests in the legal process. We strongly encourage your participation, which will help us evaluate the Company’s proposal and prepare for the evidentiary hearings.

This hearing is being transcribed and your comments will become part of the record. I would like to reiterate the importance of your participation so that the Ratepayer Advocate can have a clear record of your concerns and interests.
On behalf of the Ratepayer Advocate, thank you for attending this public hearing.

contact us | privacy notice | legal statement | accessibility statement

ratepayer advocate: home | electric | gas | telco | water/wastewater | news & info. | press releases | case matters | publications | consumer info. | links
statewide: njhome | business | government | departments | search

Copyright (c) State of New Jersey, 1996 - 2003
New Jersey Division Of The Ratepayer Advocate
31 Clinton Street 11th Fl.
Newark, NJ 07101