Republicans in Trenton blast Murphy, Democrats over Parkway, Turnpike toll hikes

Garden State Parkway sign and toll - Photo 43089746 © Christopher Eng Wong | Dreamstime.com

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Republicans today blasted a Democrat-led agenda that would essentially strip the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel of its primary role protecting state residents from unreasonable utility rate hikes.

“When the electric and gas utilities want to increase revenue, Rate Counsel is the last line of defense for cash-strapped families and seniors on fixed incomes who will be most impacted by higher prices,” said James Holzapfel. “It’s unconscionable that Democrat leaders in Trenton are scheming to tie the hands of the only state entity concerned about the interests of energy consumers.

“The cost of living in New Jersey is out of control, and more than 800,000 residents are behind in their utility bills,” Holzapfel continued. “Instead of taking steps to make it more affordable, Governor Murphy’s foot soldiers are moving to ensure even more residents will be unable to afford to keep their lights on and heat their homes.”

Democrats in the Legislature are sponsoring legislation (S-4214) that would emasculate the Division of Rate Counsel’s authority to prevent outrageous rate increases like those Murphy’s progressive Energy Master Plan would produce.

“The Administration knows all too well that the Governor’s green energy scam will trigger astronomical increases in the price of electricity, and only Rate Counsel stands in the way of those unjustifiable increases,” said another Republican. “Over the years, the Rate Counsel’s measured, reasonable intervention has tempered the utility companies’ overly aggressive proposals, saving residents millions of dollars in electric and gas payments. Now the Democrats want to clip their claws when rate payers need them the most.”

The energy plan being pushed upon New Jersey by Gov. Murphy sets out to shift the state’s energy reliance from natural gas to electricity, with a goal of 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

The price tag would be enormous. According to estimates, a family of four would incur a cost of more than $210,000, or $52,000 per person. The total cost to New Jersey could be over half-a-trillion dollars.

“Many people in our state can barely afford it now,” said John Catalano. “There are almost a million homes that owe more than $600 million in utility debt already. The Democrats want to do everything they can to hide the true cost of the master plan from residents, and that includes silencing the Division of Rate Counsel.”

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