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New Jersey’s nuclear subsidy means a loss to electricity consumers

 Consumers lose in nuclear subsidy plan, North Jersey Record Sept. 12, 2018 New Jersey’s nuclear subsidy idea was a loser from the start. Legislators earlier this year bowed to Public Service Enterprise Group’s insistence on financial help from consumers to keep South Jersey nuclear plants afloat — meaning to make them more profitable — and signed off on a $300 million plan.

Of course, lawmakers told us that the money merely represented a maximum, and that a Board of Public Utilities review would determine how much assistance — if any — the plants would receive. That process began last week, and officials have been tossing around a lot of political-sounding comments about extensive scrutiny of the nuclear applications — as if awards weren’t already essentially a done deal.

In a press release, BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said the board and its staff take their responsibilities seriously, and will determine whether subsidies are warranted. Yet legislators and the governor have already decided they are; that was the whole argument in favor of the subsidies bill, that the plants wouldn’t stay open without help, that New Jersey needs nuclear power, and that the $300 million figure was an appropriate number to put in place. The final subsidies may not hit that number on the nose, but we can certainly assume they won’t be far off.

It’s also no secret New Jersey consumers will be forced to foot the profitability bill not only for PSEG’s South Jersey plants, but also for nuclear plants in other states that contribute to the PJM Interconnection regional energy grid.

What will those states be doing to benefit us? Nothing, basically…………

environmentalists have maintained that the subsidy bill will prop up an outdated source of power at the expense of wind and solar energy, one more part of the governor’s often confusing, hopscotch approach to satisfying the state’s energy needs. Rival power companies have called the nuclear subsidy unfair to a company that reported $558 million in net income for the first three months of this year. And large power users said the subsidy would drive up costs and discourage innovation.

All of this, however, begs the question: Why couldn’t the amount of the subsidies have been determined before legislators created the pot of cash from which they will be taken? The plants aren’t losing money; they’re just not generating enough profit. PSEG won’t open its books to the public. Yet lawmakers felt compelled to announce to one and all upfront that as much as $300 million might be needed to get the job done. That taints everything moving forward………

September 14, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA

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