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Bill to subsidise New Jersey’s nuclear power stations – unaffordable handout to the industry


New Jersey citizens and businesses can ill afford the massive wealth transfer and regulatory capitulation that PSEG’s bill would impose. Opponents of PSEG’s nuclear subsidy bill applauded former Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s refusal to post the bill for a vote in the Legislature’s lame-duck session, effectively killing the bill. However, the PSEG subsidy fight is far from over, as the identical bill has already been reintroduced and scheduled for a hearing in the new legislative session. It now falls to the Murphy administration to decide whether to support this badly flawed, one-sided bill that would provide unjustified regulatory perks, including billions of dollars in unwarranted subsidies, to PSEG’s profitable nuclear plants. For the reasons that follow, Gov. Murphy should follow the lead of the former speaker and reject the bill.

It is a sad truth that literally every provision in the bill favors the interests of PSEG over ratepayers and competitors, with no apparent effort having been made to strike a fair balance between them. The bill would shift all financial risks associated with the future operation of the nuclear plants to ratepayers, and the out-of-market subsidy created would wreak havoc on the functioning of the interstate wholesale energy markets, paving the way to even higher energy costs in the future.

The bill would afford PSEG a continuing $320 million per year subsidy — an amount arbitrarily established by PSEG without regard to the alleged future losses of the nuclear plants, while conveniently sidestepping the Board of Public Utilities’ century-old ratemaking processes that are used to establish just and reasonable rates. It is noteworthy that the bill is devoid of any provision that would obligate PSEG to provide a single tangible benefit to anyone in return for the financial windfall it would receive…….

Because there is no issue regarding the nuclear plants’ current profitability, the relief the bill would provide is unwarranted. New Jersey should follow Connecticut’s recent example and require PSEG, as a condition precedent to the receipt of any future relief, to make comprehensive financial disclosures regarding the current and projected profitability of the nuclear plants…….


January 26, 2018 - Posted by | politics, USA

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