In a lawsuit filed by 3 former employees who were fired for their refusal to become complicit in the corporate money-making scam, PSE&G is accused of spending "Solar 4 All" program funds on corporate promotional advertising, recovering street light upgrade funds that were also reimbursed to them by a vendor, and charging a hospital's energy upgrade expenses to a program that didn't go into effect until after the expenditure was made (and lots more -- if you're a bean counter, it's a great read!)
If you think "someone" is watching out for your interests, little ratepayer, guess again.
"Stefanie Brand, director of the Division of Rate Counsel, the state’s advocate for ratepayers, said the suit’s allegations were especially troubling because regular oversight of utilities’ spending for such programs would not have caught the claimed irregularities.
Each year, Brand’s office compares how much money the programs take in from ratepayers to their budgets. But her office doesn’t comb through each of the program’s itemized expenses.
"We might not have ever picked it up," said Brand, who wrote the BPU on Jan. 6 urging an investigation into the lawsuit’s claims."
Pretty crappy oversight - comparing approved budgeted amounts to amounts spent. How long did that take -- five minutes? Combing through itemized expenses is tedious and time consuming, and the power companies know it. Because state rate counsel/consumer advocates/people's counsel are underfunded and do not have in-house expertise, power companies have been getting away with ripping you off for years and will continue to do so. Getting caught happens only rarely, and in this instance appears to have been caused by a trio of accountants who had a little trouble sleeping at night and got fired for their ethics.
Nobody is taking on the task of "oversight" of their FERC Formula Rate for the Susquehanna-Roseland project, on which they are earning 12.93% return (interest) every year. This is where the $40M of park "mitigation" is going to end up. If they don't spend all $40M, will they add in other expenses that have nothing to do with the "mitigation?" Probably. And since there is no budget for one of these FERC-approved projects, there's nothing with with to make even a 5 minute comparison. Project cost estimates (currently $1.2B for S-R) are simply that, estimates, which are severely outdated. No one is holding their feet to the fire on this, and since the more they spend, the more they make, that $40M could turn into $60M or $100M or more, and the opportunities are much too tasty for crooked utility companies like PSE&G.
Just say NO to "mitigation." We can't afford it.