After a five-hour hearing on the measure, legislation that could impose a surcharge on electric customers to keep three nuclear plants open in South Jersey has been advanced by a joint Senate and Assembly committee.
Public Service Enterprise Group says the nuclear plants could become unprofitable in two years and be shut down.
Ratepayer advocate Stefanie Brand worries the legislation could cost ratepayers over $300 million a year. She says there’s no evidence to demonstrate subsidies are needed.
“I’m not advocating that they close. I am advocating though for a system that does not allow a single company to hold us hostage in this way.”
Steven Goldenberg with the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition urged lawmakers not to rush to pass the bill, saying the subsidy could cause big businesses to pay a half-million dollars more each year.
“This bill doesn’t address the issues responsibly or fairly. This is massive giveaway based on unwarranted fears that have been fanned by PSE&G.”
Senate President Steve Sweeney says the legislation creates a review process for the state Board of Public Utilities to determine if a nuclear plant needs a subsidy.
“If what PSE&G is saying isn’t true, that there’s no problem, there won’t be any rate increase.”
Members of the committee voted unanimously to advance the measure. Sweeney expects the full legislature will vote on it in the finals weeks of the lame-duck session.