The PSE&G $3.9 billion utility rate hike proposal is based on the argument that they need to upgrade infrastructure to avoid the problems caused by the next big storm. AARP opposes the proposal not only because many people cannot afford to pay more, but because of the rather curious and precedent-setting process they propose.
PSE&G already has a statutory duty to provide safe, adequate and reliable service as a condition of its licensed monopoly. What they are proposing is that the Board of Public Utilities authorize the massive increase in rates before the company does the work—before it has shown what work will be performed, whether the expenditures are necessary and reasonable, which customers will benefit, and without opening the company books to show that they are not exceeding reasonable profits.
PSE&G should make whatever repairs or replacements that are necessary now to meet its current legal obligations. Then and only then the BPU should fulfill its regulatory responsibilities to examine the expenses and the rates to determine if a rate increase is justified. That is the process that has been in place for all utilities in all states over the past 100 years.
PSE&G has no business refusing to upgrade its facilities because they want all the money up front. They need to get to work now.