Monday, April 22, 2013
Measures stress efficiency as way to reduce costs for utilities, lower ratepayers’ bills.
The Legislature may soon take another stab at trying to get New Jersey residents and businesses to sharply curtail how much energy they use. Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, is drafting a bill, S-2700, that could lead the state to adopting an energy efficiency portfolio standard, a measure that would force gas and electric utilities to demonstrate reductions in energy use by their customers. The legislation, not yet available to the public, is similar to bills that have been taken up by the Assembly in previous years, but have yet to be enacted into law. In essence, the bill aims to promote more energy efficiency projects by establishing a new statewide program, similar to what has …
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Lucrative capacity payments key to financing new power plants, states argue before federal agency.
New Jersey and other states are caught up in a multiyear dispute with the agencies overseeing the electric power grid, battling to roll back new rules they say will prevent them from providing cheaper, more reliable power to residents and businesses. This is just the latest twist in an argument about spurring the development of new power plants in various jurisdictions, a step the states say could lower energy costs for customers saddled with some of the highest electric bills in the nation. The fight is being played out before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that reviews actions by the regional transmission companies that manage the high-voltage power lines crisscrossing the nation. These organizations largely …
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
To encourage and further public debate on this important issue, NJ Spotlight presents two opposing positions.
Wednesday, March 27
By Aaron Fischer [Aaron Fischer is director of editorial operations for NJ Spotlight.] PSE&G's proposed $4 billion filing to upgrade and enhance the resiliency of its power and natural gas grids has sparked off more than something of a stir among state officials, lawmakers, customers, and businesses across the state. The utility argues that its Energy Strong program is a response to the flaws and shortcomings in its distribution systems revealed by Hurricane Sandy. While the Board of Public Utilities does not disagree with the purpose or need for the program, it has asked for a detailed cost-benefit analysis of all of its components. The Division of Rate Counsel, meanwhile, has raised a flag that New Jersey consumers will end up bearing an…
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Utility disputes claim that projects will substantially increase bills for residential and industrial customers.
Public Service Electric & Gas is facing mounting opposition to its plan to spend nearly $4 billion to harden its power grid to prevent widespread outages during major storms. In a letter sent late yesterday afternoon to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, five of the state’s most prominent lobbying organizations urged the agency to reject out of hand or delay indefinitely PSE&G’s proposal, submitted to the agency in February. They said it would spike utility bills for both residential and industrial customers. The concerns raised by the groups underscore how difficult it will be for the agency and the state’s utilities to undertake what virtually everyone acknowledges are expensive upgrades to New Jersey’s gas and electric …
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Seniors' organization argues against financing improvements with new surcharges to customer's bills.
Count the state chapter of AARP among those questioning the plan by Public Service Electric & Gas to spend close to $4 billion to modernize its electric power grid in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In an unusual tiff between a PSE&G executive and the president of the AARP chapter in New Jersey, the two organizations traded exchanges this week accusing each other of misrepresenting aspects of the utility’s proposal to invest in $3.9 billion over 10 years to make its infrastructure more resilient in the wake of extreme weather. The dispute underscores the tough choices facing state regulators and utilities, both of which are under pressure from the public to avert widespread outages, that can leave some customers without any power for more …
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Upgrades aimed at modernizing electricity grid after Sandy left widespread outages in the area.
Saturday, February 23
By Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight.com Is it time to invest nearly $4 billion in ratepayer subsidies to help modernize the power grid to avert widespread outages from extreme weather, such as Hurricane Sandy? If the state’s largest utility gets its way, the answer is "Yes," at least according to a filing yesterday with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The proposal – courtesy of Public Service Electric & Gas -- is likely to kindle a fiery debate over how the state should respond to Sandy and at what cost to consumers. The filing comes at a time when the state’s utilities are under enormous pressure to reduce long outages caused by extreme weather, while the Christie administration is struggling to find ways to reduce energy bills, which…
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The scam has been reported across county and seems to be targeting Hispanic neighborhoods, but not exclusively.
Thursday, February 14
PSE&G alerts customers of a new scam in which individuals misrepresenting themselves as PSE&G employees threaten to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made that day. The scam has been reported across county and seems to be targeting Hispanic neighborhoods, PSE&G reports. Here is how the scam works: “We take very seriously any attempt to defraud our customers,” said Joseph Forline, vice president of customer solutions for PSE&G. “We are working closely with law enforcement to investigate these scams. In the meantime, we ask our customers to be wary of callers who demand immediate payment and threaten service termination. When in doubt, hang up and call PSE&G directly at the phone number listed on your bill.” If …
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The utility company has also provided a number of tips for customers in the event of a power outage during the predicted nor'easter.
Thursday, February 7
The following information was provided by PSE&G in preparation for the Nor'Easter tomorrow. A blizzard warning is in effect for Union County, beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday: Additional crews and equipment on hand to restore service. As part of our ongoing efforts to keep customers informed during severe weather events, we are providing the following information: PSE&G is closely monitoring the track of the approaching nor'easter and is making emergency preparations should the storm bring heavy snow and strong winds to our service territory. At this time, the storm is expected to begin impacting New Jersey on Friday and continue through Saturday, with the full brunt of the storm hitting the area on Friday night. In anticipation of the …
Monday, November 12, 2012
PSE&G wants to know where tilted and unstable utility poles are so they can be replaced.
The region took a battering from Hurricane Sandy, and that includes the sturdy wooden poles that hold up utility and telephone lines. More than a few crashed down in the hurricane's wake. Many more are leaning dangerously over to one side or another from the high winds. PSE&G said since they began restoring service after the hurricane, they've replaced at least 2,500 utility poles and 1,000 transformers, as well as cut down more than 41,000 trees that were impairing their ability to get to electrical lines. If you have a crooked utility pole on your street, the company wants you to report it. Ralph LaRossa, the company's president and chief operating officer, said that anyone who notices a crooked utility pole should make it known to PSE…
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Another big storm is due today. All the out-of-state electric crews helping PSE&G in NJ are going to be in the right place at the right time, come Wednesday.
Hurricane Sandy may help New Jersey survive the nor'easter scheduled to hit the state today. That's because, with all the Sandy power outages, PSE&G president and chief operating officer Ralph LaRossa called in the cavalry - that is, linemen and workers from other states who flooded into the state to help restore power. On Tuesday, LaRossa spoke on a media conference call and trumpeted that the company obtained the services of another 600 linemen, coming in from Pennsylvania, just last night. "We got them to work quickly," LaRossa said. As of Tuesday, there were 3,900 outside personnel to bolster the 700 PSE&G workers trying to turn the power back on since Hurricane Sandy hit last week. LaRossa reported that 281,000 state residents are …