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Federal Tax Reform Means Slightly Lower Bills for NJ Ratepayers

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities sets new tariffs for water companies and gas and electric utilities

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Beginning next week, customers will start to see some modest reductions on their gas, electric, and water bills as a result of savings utilities have won from the federal tax cuts signed by President Donald Trump last year.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities yesterday approved orders establishing new tariffs for providing service to customers of nine water companies and seven gas and electric companies.

For the state’s seven gas and electric utilities, the total reduction amounts to roughly $215 million for customers of Public Service Electric & Gas, Rockland Electric, Jersey Central Power & Light, Atlantic City Electric, New Jersey Natural Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, and South Jersey Gas.

Approximately $56 million in rate reductions also were approved by the board for nine water and sewerage companies as a result of the cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent in the Federal Tax Cuts and Job Act.

The rate reductions are the first of an expected three refunds that could be delivered to customers as a result of the law, which took effect this past January. In addition to the refunds beginning April 1, the BPU still must figure out how much the utilities overcollected between January and the end of March and how much they owe customers from accumulated deferred income taxes, according to officials.

“By far, that’s the biggest piece,’’ said Division of Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand, referring to the deferred income taxes that the utilities accumulated. “It also is the most complicated piece and will vary company by company.’’

For the time being, the amount customers will save will range as high as $73.10 a year for South Jersey Gas ratepayers to $1.20 each month for customers of the Environmental Disposal Corp.

“It’s a significant chunk of change that consumers are getting,’’ said BPU Commissioner Diane Solomon.

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