New Jersey utility proposes $4 billion clean energy plan

PSE&G proposal is “a great opportunity for us to be aligned with our government and do well by the environment and our employees and our customers, while giving our investors another growth opportunity,” said Ralph Izzo, chairman and CEO of PSE&G parent company Public Service Enterprise Group.

Most of the investment would go to energy efficiency programs because it’s the most efficient way to reduce customer costs while cutting energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, Izzo told CNBC.

The funds would underwrite rebates and incentives for energy-efficient appliances and equipment, as well as funding to adopt energy-saving techniques. PSE&G would also offer free or low-cost consulting, tools and installations to residences, businesses and local governments.

Those programs alone would save ratepayers $5.7 billion, according to PSE&G, though the savings would mostly accrue to residents and companies that take advantage of the program. Those who don’t could see their electric power bill increase by $6 a year, the company estimates. PSE&G plans to advise policymakers to focus on pushing the programs to low-income households, apartments and municipal buildings.

The plan also commits $364 million for electric vehicle chargers in up to 37,000 homes and 2,200 mixed-use buildings and for additional units in 150 fast-charging stations on public roadways. PSE&G also plans to award grants to school districts to purchase 50 to 100 electric school buses, primarily in low-income areas.

Izzo says the company’s experience managing the flow of electricity on New Jersey’s power lines makes PSE&G a prime candidate to jump start the buildout of New Jersey’s EV charging infrastructure.

“It’s no different than why we took the lead years ago in solar and oftentimes why a regulated utility takes the lead: to get the market going,” he said. “Once the market is functioning, it’s not a monopoly, and we can and should back away.”

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