NJ nuclear power will result in a surcharge for all residents

David Madden
April 18, 2019 - 6:35 pm
Electric bill.

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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — If you live or operate a business in New Jersey, your electric bill is going up to subsidize three South Jersey nuclear plants.

PSE&G will get $300 million a year for the next three years under the 4-1 vote from the Board of Public Utilities in return for keeping the Salem One and Two and the Hope Creek plants in Salem County up and running.

The average residential customer will see their bill go up about $40 a year, regardless of which utility provides the power.

The board approved what’s called Zero Emission Credits, although opponents like Jeff Tittel at the Sierra Club insist they have little to do with the environment.

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 “It really was, I think, one of the most shameful episodes of government that I’ve seen in a very long time,” Tittel told KYW Newsradio. “Where the BPU’s own staff did not recommend this subsidy when the Commissioners themselves said that there was no financial need for it but then they voted for it anyway.”

Even the state Business and Industry Association suggested that the whole subsidy concept get a closer look. 

“NJBIA does come from a standpoint of supporting our nuclear powered energy as well as the development of other energy sources, but just not at any cost,” spokesman Bob Considine added.

PSE&G had threatened to shut those plants down without the subsidies, which would have cost several thousand jobs. A bill was passed in the legislature in the waning days of the Christie Administration but was signed by his successor, Gov. Phil Murphy, as part of the administration’s plan to get half of the state’s power from clean sources by 2030.

BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso, in a statement, cited climate change concerns as one reason to approve the surcharge.

“We have a moral obligation to our fellow citizens to do everything we can to decrease carbon emissions,” he said.

Under the law, if the board determines more money was collected than needed to pay the subsidies, it will be refunded to consumers. 

The surcharges will be reconsidered, and possibly renewed, in 2022.