The ROI-NJ Podcast: Ralph Izzo on PSEG’s master plan for energy

The new ROI-NJ Podcast lets you hear straight from the business leaders and newsmakers in New Jersey. The podcast is a product of ROI-NJ, the premiere business news organization of the Garden State, and hosted by Managing Editor Anjalee Khemlani.

Public Service Enterprise Group has released a white paper featuring a master plan for energy, urging the state to adopt regulations — using the example set by other states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island — to incentivize more efficient use of energy.

If the state adopts the rules, currently used for gas delivery, for electricity, New Jersey could reduce energy consumption by 2 percent, eliminate 1 million tons of carbon and return $130 million to consumers, according to the utility.

PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo told ROI-NJ there are a number of changes in the energy world that are leading to the necessity of adopting new rules.

Customers are increasingly using electricity, demand dependable energy and want it to come at an affordable price. The high-cost items still are air conditioning, lighting and heating systems, but being able to use more energy without spiking energy bills is why PSEG is pursing the “decoupling” strategy, he said.

Decoupling lets energy companies focus on improving infrastructure and deliver energy more efficiently and reliably, Izzo said.

One of the most-needed infrastructure improvements includes digital meters.

The meter-reading process the utility uses is still very labor-intensive. Employees drive to each meter to read it every month, rather than having real-time access to the meters.

If the utility could get the support from the state Board of Public Utilities to increase its rate in order to pay for these improvements, Izzo believes the company can help itself and its customers be more efficient while providing reliable energy.

“I’ve got to get (power) to people where they want to use it. And I have to be able to do it on bright sunny days, I have to be able to do that two days after a Category 2 hurricane hits, I’ve got to be able to do that when the snow is falling,” he said.

The key ingredient to efficiency, Izzo said, goes beyond the “low-hanging fruit” of caulking windows or upgrading appliances. It requires collecting real-time data of customers’ use and analyzing that data.

“You should not wait for your air conditioner to die before you replace it,” he said. “There’s a degradation in its performance that you can replace before it stops working that will help you save money and help the environment. That kind of data analytics will rely on smarter meters that get read more than once a month.”

This, Izzo said, is a strategy that also helps align with Gov. Phil Murphy’s renewable energy goals.

Click below to hear the podcast, featuring Izzo’s stance on renewable and nuclear energies and the subsidies that go with them.

Listen to more of the ROI-NJ Podcast: