Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, Feb 21, 2018 | MonroeNow
A controversial bailout plan for one of the state’s largest public utilities will face a public hearing Thursday morning.
A state Assembly proposal, among other energy-related items, would provide up to $300 million in annual subsides to Public Service Enterprise Group, financed by a rate hike, to help its South Jersey nuclear power plants that the utility giant says may have to shut down in two years because they are no longer profitable.
PSEG’s claims have been met with criticism from environmental groups who argue the state should make more investments into renewable energies instead of pumping more funding into nuclear energy. The utility company also said that thousands of jobs could disappear and ratepayers may see larger hikes if the nuclear plants close.
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, D-Middlesex and Mercer, said the rate hike to residential customers would range from $35 to $40 per year. PSEG estimates, according to recent reports, the annual increase at approximately $30 per year. DeAngelo is a prime sponsor of the bill along with Assemblymen John McKeon, D-27, and John Burzichelli, D-3.
DeAngelo said the latest bill does include measures to promote and support renewable energy, but added lawmakers need to focus on the issue at hand. The bill, he said, includes requests from Governor Murphy’s Administration, but drove up the total price to more than $700 million. He said legislators have been working to cut down that figure, and have to some extent.
According to his estimates, New Jersey generates approximately 65 percent of its power, which is a decline over the years. And at this time, according to his estimates, the state’s renewable energy sources account for approximately 5 percent of the power produced — a number he would like to see grow.
The public hearing begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday. For a possible livestream of the committee meeting, visit http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/.