PEARL RIVER, N.Y., July 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Electric system expansion and service
reliability improvements driven by a growing customer base and increasing demands
for electricity has prompted Rockland Electric Company (RECO) to file an electric
base rate case with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU).
To provide for the continued safety, reliability and security of the 14 distribution
substations, 778 miles of overhead distribution lines, 536 conductor miles of
underground distribution and 69 distribution circuits and related infrastructure
for the benefit of its electric customers, RECO is seeking approval of a $13.2
million increase in electric distribution base rates, an overall 7.5 percent
If this filing is approved by the NJBPU, the bill for a typical residential
electric customer using a monthly average of 925 kWh would increase overall
on average $8.53 per month, from $126.06 to $134.59, or a 6.8 percent increase
from today's rates.
To continue to meet the needs of customers in a safe and reliable way, and
to continue to provide delivery capability to meet an average annual growth
of 450 new customers per year and an average annual weather-normalized load
growth of 2.2 percent, RECO has invested $53.9 million in infrastructure improvements
during the past five years.
During the same period, the company has invested an additional $1.3 million
on average each year in operations and maintenance activities, from $26.6 million
in 2000 to $33.1 million in 2005, approximately a 25 percent increase, exclusive
of expenses associated with Demand Side Management and Clean Energy programs,
the Universal Service Fund and the Life Line program.
To maintain the ongoing reliability, safety and security of the electric distribution
system, RECO has -- or will -- initiate a number of major projects to serve
the expanding needs of Bergen, Sussex and Passaic counties.
RECO has begun a $10.5 million project that will expand electric system capacity
in RECO's eastern Bergen County service territory by completely rebuilding the
Cresskill substation, improving the Closter substation and upgrading the existing
high voltage feeders that run between those two substations.
RECO planned the project to meet growing demand for electricity and to improve
the reliability of the electric infrastructure that serves its customers. Businesses
and residents in Cresskill, Demarest, Alpine, Haworth and Closter will benefit
from these improvements, expected to be completed by Spring 2007.
As a further measure to enhance reliability, RECO also is proposing to purchase
a spare substation-class distribution transformer that would be located in the
RECO service territory. This one-time, $1 million expenditure is to procure
a spare transformer that can be used to replace any failed substation transformer
on the RECO system. At present, due to increased global market demand and material
and component shortages for these units, a replacement transformer would take
a minimum of 12 months to procure.
Rockland Electric Company also is proposing to develop a new and innovative
pilot project that couples state-of-the-art equipment design with cutting-edge
technological advances in computer analysis, monitoring and control to enhance
electric system reliability and service.
RECO proposes to implement its Smart Grid project at the company's newly constructed
Darlington Substation in the borough of Ramsey. The Smart Grid pilot project
would be implemented over a three-year period at a total cost of approximately
This advanced system would be capable of providing a premium level of electric
service reliability by restoring customers' electric service automatically when
disturbances occur and minimizing the extent of outages through expanded distribution
Over the past five years, Rockland Electric Company has built a new substation
in Ramsey and fortified the transmission and distribution system serving it.
In addition, the company has doubled the size of the Upper Saddle River and
Oakland substations, and expanded the substation serving West Milford and Ringwood.
Those projects have totaled more than $25 million.
This rate proposal includes investments to help provide RECO customers with
safe, adequate and proper service at reasonable rates, while at the same time
helping to provide RECO with the necessary financial security to attract the
necessary capital to finance these projects at reasonable cost.
Rockland Electric has a dedicated, highly skilled and well-trained workforce
that has continually met the challenges of providing customers with safe and
reliable electric service. To continue the ability to retain a quality work
force, this rate filing addresses RECO's wage and benefit schedules for employees,
as well as pensions and benefits for retired employees, which are consistent
with the industry in our region.
SOURCE Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
CONTACT: Mike Donovan for Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., +1-845-577-2430
/Web site: http://www.coned.com