Senators Joe Pennacchio and Kevin O’Toole released the following today after it was reported that the state Board of Public Utilities filed a brief recommending JCP&L should cut customer rates by more than $200 million because the utility had earned a profit above its approved amount. The Senators have urged the BPU to reject JCP&L’s application for a $31 million rate increase.
“I commend the BPU staff for heeding calls by Senator O’Toole and I to urge that thousands of people who already pay some of the highest utility rates in the country for unreliable service will not have to cough up even more of their hard-earned money,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “JCP&L failed its customers here time after time in past storms, yet now tried to grab more of their hard-earned cash to further line the pockets of its parent company. The attempted rate hike was flat wrong and I hope BPU commissioners will officially act on this recommendation and put money back in the hands of the customers too often left in the dark by JCP&L.”
Senate Republicans Gerald Cardinale (Bergen), Michael Doherty (Hunterdon, Somerset, Warren) and Kevin O’Toole (Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) issued the following statement about their service on the seven-member “Senate Select Committee on Investigation,” which was initiated today by the full Senate:
“We thank Senate Republican Leader Kean, Senate President Sweeney and Chairwoman Weinberg for their confidence in us to serve the people on this committee in a rational and bipartisan fashion.
Senators Joe Pennacchio and Kevin O’Toole today continued their call for JCP&L’s request to raise rates on its customers across the state to be denied and urged action on legislation to hold utility companies accountable for failed service. JCP&L, which has requested a $31 million annual rate increase, was scheduled to go before the state Board of Public Utilities today for an evidentiary hearing regarding costs occurred during past storms.
“It’s outrageous that during a time when energy costs are dropping JCP&L wants to raise rates on the very customers it has repeatedly failed,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “JCP&L needs to be held accountable for its failings, not rewarded on the backs of customers it too often left in the dark for days and weeks during Hurricane Irene, past snowstorms and Superstorm Sandy.”
O’Toole Urges State Investigation into Christmas Delivery Failures; Urges Companies to Reimburse Affected Customers
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) sent today a letter urging the state Division of Consumer Affairs to conduct an investigation into UPS and FedEx failing to make their as promised deliveries for Christmas. The Senator also wrote the companies, urging them to fully refund all customers affected by Christmas delivery delays.
“Both UPS and FedEx ‘guaranteed’ to certain customers that their deliveries would be made by Christmas, and claimed that they failed many customers as a result of ‘higher than anticipated volume’ and ‘weather conditions in the Midwest,’” O’Toole stated. “Millions of customers across the United States and in particular here in New Jersey took that ‘guarantee’ to mean that they will be able to bring Christmas Joy to their loved ones that they could not be with. Unfortunately, that was not the case.”
Senator Kevin O’Toole sent a letter today to New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman requesting an investigation into the recent theft of credit card numbers from millions of customers who shopped at Target.
According to media accounts, data was stolen from as many as 40 million credit and debit accounts from a breach at the department stores that began over the Thanksgiving weekend. Credit card numbers are now being sold on the black market, according to a report from the New York Times.
“This is a serious criminal act and we have to be aggressive in not only tracking down those responsible but in working to ensure that New Jersey shoppers are protected,” said O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic). “We shouldn’t sit back and rely on action from Washington in a time when hardworking New Jerseyans face the prospect of having their accounts raided, identities stolen and credit ratings destroyed.”
The following op-ed by Senator Kevin O’Toole to encourage a solution to make whole New Jersey’s Supreme Court was published today in the Bergen Record:
HEADLINES of a government shutdown, stalemate over the debt ceiling, a never-ending budget crisis or nominees not receiving hearings, are all we see coming out of Washington.
Partisan gridlock, bickering and a failure to do the work of the American people seems to be the norm there. Under the leadership of Governor Christie we have accomplished many great things – in a bipartisan manner. But there remains one major hurdle that my Democratic colleagues across the aisle cannot seem to find the bipartisanship to accomplish – a full complement of justices on the state Supreme Court.
The state Senate today advanced a measure sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) to extend a deadline for mortgage companies to approve more mortgages — an effort to bolster recent gains in New Jersey’s housing market.
“This legislation ensures that we can continue on the track of recent gains in the housing market by allowing more people to share in the American Dream of owning a home,” O’Toole said. “Due in part to economic reforms done under the Christie administration, we’re seeing the signs and data that New Jersey’s housing market is turning around in a big way.”
O’Toole Introduces Resolution to Eliminate the Use of Filibuster on Governor’s Supreme Court Nominees
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) has introduced a state Senate Resolution to end unprecedented filibustering by New Jersey Senate Democrats on Gov. Christie’s Supreme Court nominees.
“The Senate Democrats have gone to unprecedented lengths to deny the people of New Jersey a full, diverse and balanced Supreme Court, as the High Court weighs some of the most important cases in our state’s history,” O’Toole said. “Democrats around the country have celebrated a U.S. Senate move to eliminate filibustering on certain nominees by America’s Chief Executive, and now the state Senate Democrats should be able to end the blockage of Supreme Court nominations by New Jersey’s Chief Executive.”
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) stated the following on Gov. Chris Christie’s nomination of Kevin O’Dowd as Attorney General:
“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working closely with Kevin for some time, and Governor Christie could not have nominated a superior individual to be our Chief Law Enforcement Officer. Kevin’s tenure in the Governor’s office and in the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been marked by tremendous successes highlighted Kevin’s deliberative nature and innate intelligence. I fully expect Kevin to bring these same skills to the Attorney General’s Office. I look forward to a swift confirmation process.”
O’Toole Blasts Assembly Dems for Discriminatory Hearing on Lane Closures; Raises Concerns about Sweetheart Deal for Fort Lee
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) blasted Democrats for conducting today’s discriminatory Assembly Transportation Committee hearing about early September lane closures that affected the Fort Lee commuters without addressing why rest of New Jerseyeans must endure Fort Lee induced traffic every day.
“Today’s hearing is an example of the type of government waste that happens when out-of-touch Democrats try to score political points against an ever-popular governor,” O’Toole said. “What could possibly be the reason to hold a hearing specifically for Fort Lee commuters, to the determent of commuters from elsewhere?”