State utility regulators have denied JCP&L's request for a $31-million-dollar rate hike. In fact, they feel they should reduce the existing rate. The utility company tells Townsquare Media News, the issue is far from over.

JCP&L crews work in Lakewood after Superstorm Sandy. (YouTube/Lakewood Scoop)

When the utility first posed the idea of a rate hike, there was a firestorm of criticism from customers and local leaders. JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano says Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy and a series of nor'easters in 2012 left the utility with major damage.

Morano said "we've received a brief from BPU staff. We're going to carefully analyze it and send back a reply brief by February 24th."

Four BPU commissioners will ultimately decide on the matter. It doesn't take into account the $580-million-dollar request for storm related damage.

Regulators are recommending New Jersey's second-largest utility cut electric rates by more than $200 million. Jersey Central Power & Light was seeking to boost rates by $31 million. But staff members with the state Board of Public Utilities say JCP&L earned a profit above its approved amount.

The state's Rate Counsel Division has been pressing for lower rates.