|State of New Jersey|
Division of Rate Counsel
31 Clinton Street
P.O. Box 46005
Newark, NJ 07101
Phone: (973) 648-2690 Fax: (973) 648-2193
For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2012
STEFANIE A. BRAND
Director - Rate Counsel
For Further Information
Rate Counsel Succeeds in Credit Reporting Settlement: PSE&G Agrees to Withdraw Proposal to Report Customer Information.
(Newark, NJ) — The Division of Rate Counsel settled litigation today with Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) in which PSE&G agreed to withdraw its proposal to report customer information to a credit reporting agency.
Rate Counsel filed a petition with the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) on November 8, 2010, in response to PSE&G’s announcement that they would begin reporting payment histories of all residential, commercial and industrial electric and gas customers, whether they are delinquent or not, to the consumer credit agency Experian. Citing State regulations that prohibit disclosure of such information to third parties, Rate Counsel’s petition asked the BPU to put a halt to PSE&G’s plans. In today’s settlement, PSE&G agreed not to go forward with the program. With this agreement, Rate Counsel will withdraw its petition.
“The laws of this state are very clear,” said Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand. “PSE&G has no right to disclose individual customer information to a third party without the customer’s consent. Today’s settlement reaffirms this important consumer protection.”
PSE&G announced in September, 2010 that it would begin to notify Experian of its customers’ payment history as early as January 2011. However, once Rate Counsel filed its petition, the Company agreed not to start the program until resolution of this case. Now, with this agreement, PSE&G customers can rest assured that their confidential information held by PSE&G will remain private.
“Ratepayers have a right to expect that their personal information will not be disseminated by the utilities,” added Brand. “This agreement will ensure that it remains confidential.”
About the Division of Rate Counsel
The Division of Rate Counsel represents and protects the interests of all utility customers — residential, small business, commercial and industrial — whenever utilities in New Jersey seek changes in their rates for delivery of natural gas, electric, water, wastewater, telephone or cable TV services. Rate Counsel also advocates for consumers in certain insurance matters. The mission of the Division is to make sure that all classes of utility consumers receive safe, adequate and essential services at affordable rates that are just and nondiscriminatory. Additional information on this and other utility matters can be found at the Division’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/rpa/.