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Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Atlantic City Electric Residential Rates Highest in the State

By Vince Conti

Atlantic City Electric customers will see a 4.8% increase in the cost of electricity beginning June 1. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved rate increases for all four of the state’s electric distribution companies, including ACE, as a result of the state’s 2024 electricity auction.

The annual auction for basic generation service is when those four companies procure the electric power supply needed to serve their customers through an auction process each February. In 2023 the auction process resulted in a 4.1% increase for ACE customers.

“The average bill is based, in part, upon the results from the last three (basic generation service) auctions,” BPU President Christine Guhl-Sadovy said in a statement. “As a result, in 2024, BGS (basic generation service) ratepayers will experience a moderate increase in energy costs. Our primary goal remains to do what is in the best interest of ratepayers across New Jersey.”

A series of what Guhl-Sadovy calls moderate increases have been adding up in South Jersey.

In between the increase approved in February 2023 and the one just approved this month, Atlantic City Electric gained approval from the BPU in November for an increase of 4.14% to allow for cost recovery of investments the company made in reliability improvements and grid modernization. In a statement ACE said: “Because of those efforts, our customers experienced the lowest frequency of electrical outages ever in 2023.”

The cumulative effect of the three rate increases is a one-year rise of a little over 13% in a customer’s electric bill.

The press release from the BPU on the results of this year’s auction shows that ACE customers pay the highest rate in the state for residential use per kilowatt-hour. The new bill for an average monthly use of 650 KWHs for an ACE customer is $154.28. This compares to $131.90 for PSE&G and RECO customers for the same 650 KWHs and to $96.59 for customers of JCP&L.

Asked about the difference in rates compared to the other distribution companies in the state, ACE said, “Atlantic City Electric’s cost of electric service, along with those of the other NJ utilities, are reviewed and approved by the NJ BPU during formal rate review procedures. The BPU has deemed our cost of electric services to be just and reasonable for us to provide safe and reliable service to our customers.

“Factors such as different geographic service areas, rate designs and cost structures influence residential bill costs. In addition, the NJ utilities file rate cases to recover infrastructure costs at different times; some of the other NJ utilities have pending or recently resolved cases with rate increases to take effect later this year.”

To offset the impact of timing differences within a given year, a look at the latest five-year span of rate changes showed the ACE rates growing by more than double those of other utilities in the state. BPU data shows that the ACE residential rate from February 2019 to February 2024 rose by 35%. For the same time period the rates for PSE&G and RECO rose by 15% and 16% respectively, while the change for JCP&L was 6%.

The data shows that customers in the three other companies’ service areas have had, for the five years considered, a lower cost per kilowatt hour and have experienced a slower growth in that rate than customers in the ACE service area.

The ACE response suggests a greater degree of infrastructure work for which the utility sought cost recovery. It also states that the ratepayer’s protection rests with the fact that the BPU has reviewed and approved all rate increases as reasonable.

ACE says, “Our customers continue to benefit through our ongoing investments on our electric system, including large-scale reliability improvement projects and grid modernization work.”

The newest rate changes come as the state is pushing to have energy use in multiple sectors of the economy move to electricity and away from fossil fuels.

Many of Cape May County’s elected officials and a number of business groups have raised the issue of ratepayer costs before the BPU on numerous occasions. They argue that the BPU is facilitating this electrification strategy without analysis available to the public on what the transition means for ratepayers.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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