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PSE&G Playing Politics with Energy Strong Arm


Date : Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:26:57 -0400


For Immediate Release

October 22, 2013

Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100


PSE&G Playing Politics with Energy Strong Arm

This PSE&G press conference is them playing politics instead of actually explaining Energy Strong to the public. The more they play politics the more you realize how bad this project actually is. The company is requesting almost $4 billion for grid hardening projects. This is the biggest rate increase in history. This will have long term consequences for the rate payers and energy policy in New Jersey. Sierra Club is calling on the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to require more energy efficiency programs in the wake of extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and to protect against these storm events in the future. Promoting energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy now will help us avoid future storm costs and improves resiliency.

"This is energy strong arm. They are just trying to push through this program without any scrutiny. The congressman speaking at the event should know that this is not only Bernie Madoff accounting, it is Energy Wrong. This plan is going to impact their constituents since under Energy Strong 100% of the rate payers will pay but less than 40% will see any benefit. The speakers are just being used as pawns by PSE&G to push through this bad proposal that will not protect us from the next storm," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.


In PSE&G's Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure Investment report the company states they want to get rid of $600 million for Solar 4 All, $100 million for Solar Loans, and $200 million from Energy Efficiency for All. In order to pay for Energy Strong they want to cut renewable energy programs by $900 million but Sierra Club is participating in the rate case to demand more energy efficiency and renewable programs. Cutting these programs to pay for Energy Strong is an accounting gimmick and shows they are not investing enough in these programs currently.

"The reason they are playing politics is that they cannot defend rate hikes or this plan. It will only benefit PSE&G's bottom line not the vast majority of the people they serve. They are trying to push this through using politics since they cannot defend the indefensible," said Tittel.

PSE&G also wants to move the Gas Capital Improvement Plan Phase 3 investments, $1.4 billion, into the Energy Strong program. This should not be allowed because replacing old gas lines is a capital improvement and has nothing to do with hardening infrastructure.

"This is not Energy Strong, this is Energy Con. At a time when we should be investing in renewables and energy efficiency to make state more resilient they are actually cutting these programs. This plan would take ratepayer money, not fix the grid, but to waste it on projects that will not work since the proposal ignores the future impacts of climate change," said Jeff Tittel.

HUD released their Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Strategy Document which outlines criteria for federal funding. On energy HUD is calling for not just hardening the grid, but making it more resilient by including distributive generation, microgrid, combined heat and power, smart grid, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Utilities in New Jersey, including PSE&G, should be meeting these criteria and actively going after federal funding for these upgrades. PSE&G has not applied for the available HUD Community Development Block Grant funding to harden and elevate infrastructure. They have also not applied for available FEMA funding to elevate vulnerable infrastructure. In New York utilities are requesting that funding.

"The congressman should know that unless changes are made, this proposal will waste a lot of rate payer money that will be destroyed in the next storm. We the rate payers are paying for the utilities' past mistakes. Had they invested more in renewable energy, efficiency, and smart grid we would not have had the outages and problems we had. This is our chance to fix the problems and mistakes of the past to grow our economy and give us a brighter clean energy future in New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel. "It is not enough to be energy strong we have to be smarter and better. This is just energy pay to play."

-- 
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
609-656-7612
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Received on 2013-10-22 09:26:57

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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