TRENTON – The Assembly Utilities Committee unanimously released a bill today to improve customer service regarding energy.
A2132 directs the Board of Public Utilities to promulgate regulations requiring utilities, suppliers, and marketers to provide accurate price information so that customers can compare services.
The bill will allow customers to go to a single source to obtain comparative information regarding the prices and services of the many electricity providers in the state.
The bill’s primary sponsors are Third District Assembly members John Burzichelli and Celeste Riley and 14th District Assemblyman Dan Benson, all Democrats.
The Senate version is S2181.
Support came from the NJ Sierra Club, AARP, and the Chemistry Council of New Jersey.
Elvin Montero of the Chemistry Council said that with New Jersey’s energy rates among the ten highest states in the nation, this bill is necessary to generate transparency. “It will allow ratepayers to shop, and realize how they can save on energy,” he said.
However, Gabrielle Figueroa of the Retail Energy Supply Association, cautioned that this bill might slow momentum toward more transparency and an improved web site, and said a meeting was under way with BPU personnel today, but committee Chair Upendra Chivukula, (D-17), Somerset explained that the state has had a dozen years to attain these goals.
Amendments included changing wording so that BPU is authorized, rather than required, to promulgate regulations.
Chivukula said after the hearing that the bill was amended to provide BPU some leeway. It is all part of the negotiations involved in achieving the desired goal, he said. Deregulation has been around since 1999, and the bill’s existence has helped spur the state into doing what should have done some time back.