A recent spike in utility rates around the state have one Ocean County Freeholder bristling.  He's pointing the finger at the Board of Public Utilities.

Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari (Townsquare Media NJ)

Freeholder Joe Vicari is lobbying to replace the BPU with a consumer advocate.  Vicari has spent several years trying to get a local representative on the board with no success, and it's starting to hurt across the board, especially after Sandy.  The longtime Freeholder is left with a bad taste in his mouth about the whole experience.  Letter after letter, call after call - and yet there is still no one on the five member BPU board who has Ocean County's interests in mind.

Freeholder Vicari feels a consumer advocate would be more responsible, reasonable and fair - especially with regards to infrastructure.  He says "we can't see our utility bills go up each time there's a storm or a natural disaster.  This is totally unacceptable.  It is hurting so many people.  Why wasn't the funding from those high rates going to repairs after the superstorm?"

In the past few months, we have seen a push for increases with electric, water and even cable rates.

While the idea to dissolve the BPU is Vicari's idea and opinion, he feels not only it will save money, considering the board members make $140,000 a year, it will also add a new layer of transparency to the process.

He is hoping it will be studied and placed on the ballot for residents to decide.