Ocean County Press Release
Freeholder Vicari Questions BPU
5/02/2013

TOMS RIVER – Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari says maybe his approach to the state Board of Public Utilities has been all wrong.

"For years, I have been calling for local Ocean County representation on the BPU and nothing has come of it," Vicari said. "Instead of urging a member from Ocean County, maybe we just don't need the BPU."

Vicari, who serves as chairman of the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs has been a staunch opponent of utility companies especially in their efforts to raise rates following disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

"And yet, the BPU, the regulatory board overseeing these utilities, doesn't seem to have a problem with rate increases while citizens remain displaced, while families are living apart, all while their homes are in disrepair," Vicari said. "Maybe it is time to ask our citizens if the state Board of Public Utilities should be abolished. I think this should be something that is closely studied and then placed on the ballot for our citizens to determine."

Vicari said consumers in New Jersey would be better served by a utility consumer advocate charged to represent the interests of utility consumers.

According to the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, the utility consumer advocates, through actions before state and federal courts and regulatory agencies, have saved consumers billions of dollars in utility costs and established important consumer rights and legal precedents.

"We need better representation for our consumers who seem to be at the mercy of the utility companies," Vicari said. "We are not getting this representation from the BPU."

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