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PSE&G filed a proposal this week describing its plans to spend $3.9 billion to upgrade its infrastructure to better withstand severe storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which left almost 2.5 million without power.
The public utility said the cost of the decade-long project to reinforce poles, relocate selected electrical substations and replace 750 miles of gas mains would be passed to consumers. Consumers, however, would not see an increase in their bills because certain surcharges related to deregulation are about to be removed from the bills.
The project — and the expected 6,000 jobs it would create — received support from labor unions and the state Chamber of Commerce, but was questioned by consumer advocates, according to media reports.
“You have businesses and residents who are struggling to get back after Sandy, and this is an enormous amount of money,” Stefanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, said in a Philly.com report. “There’s no consideration that prices need to come down. We have the seventh-highest electricity rates in the country.”