Atlantic City Electric (ACE) – now a subsidiary of Exelon that serves about 547,000 electric customers in southern New Jersey – asked the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) on March 22 to authorize (Docket No. ER16030252) a base rate adjustment of $78.9 million to help pay for reliability investments and continued infrastructure improvements.
It has been two years since the company’s last rate adjustment. If this one is approved as requested, residential customers using between 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) and 1,000 kWh per month would see a total monthly bill increase ranging from $ 6.81 to $11.73.
The company also is seeking approval of its grid resiliency plan, PowerAhead. If approved, the company plans to invest $176 million in its system over five years to advance the modernization of the electric grid through energy efficiency, increased distributed generation, and resiliency to withstand major storms.
PowerAhead’s planned projects include:
- Selective undergrounding of existing distribution circuits;
- Construction of system ties to the barrier islands from the mainland;
- Increased storm and flood prevention of substations and other equipment along the barrier islands; and
- Extra system automation and remote control for faster and safer restoration.
“In order to further improve our electric system and continue providing quality service, it’s important that we invest in new infrastructure and upgrade our existing electrical systems,” commented Vince Maione, Atlantic City Electric region president, adding, “We are pleased to announce our grid resiliency plan, PowerAhead, that will not only harden the electric grid and make it more resistant to severe storms, it will help create jobs and strengthen the economy.”.
Over the past five years, ACE has invested about $716 million into its electric system. As a direct result, the company believes, during 2015, ACE achieved its best reliability performance in more than a decade. Customers experienced 41 percent fewer outages and, when outages did occur, service was restored about 25 percent faster compared to 2011.
In addition, the utility said, “It is important to note that ACE’s rate application does not include the benefits that will be provided by the … merger with Exelon, which would include cost savings as a result of greater efficiencies from the merged company.”
Distribution rates cover the cost of delivering power, not the cost of the power itself. Customers who buy energy from a competitive supplier continue to receive distribution service from ACE so they also will be affected by this requested rate adjustment. The new total monthly bill for customers who shop for their energy will vary according to the price charged by the customer’s supplier.