WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Jersey Central Power and Light is asking regulators for a rate increase to cover costs from storm damage that pre-dates Sandy.
JCPL is asking for a 1.4 percent rate hike in response to a request from the Board of Public Utilities that the company open up its books and justify what it charges customers.
The state's Ratepayer Advocate Stephanie Brand said the utilities decision to not participate in programs to upgrade their operation and past problems with their storm response prompted her to push for more scrutiny of the utility.
"We than hired an accountant who reviewed their publicly available documents,” Brand said. “It suggested to us that they might have been over earning so we filed a petition with the BPU asking them to bring JCPL for a rate case,"Brand said.
Sandy knocked out power for more than 90 percent of JCPL's customers and did more than a half-billion dollars in damage to the utility.
The Ohio-based utility says it pre-deployed thousands of additional utility workers to accelerate restoration work. Governor Christie, who has in the past been critical of JCPL, has lauded JCPL's performance and that of other Jersey utilities post Sandy.
The latest rate hike proposal does not include covering the cost of Post-Sandy repairs which are still being tabulated.
The application comes as local officials continue to be critical of utility's Sandy response.