Atlantic City Electric has proposed a suite of energy efficiency programs to the state Board of Public Utilities that it feels will save customers money, help the state meets its clean energy goals and create new jobs.
The proposed programs include offerings for all customers, including every size business, renters and homeowners, single-family homes and multifamily buildings, as well as offerings dedicated to households with limited incomes. (A breakdown of the offerings is available here.) In total, Atlantic City Electric officials say the proposed programs are expected to save customers more than $550 million.
The programs also are expected to create significant economic benefits, AC Electric officials said.
The hope is that they will result in more than 6,000 job-years, contribute more than $500 million to New Jersey’s gross domestic product as well as supporting local businesses. AC Electric officials feel there will be “ripple” effect that occurs throughout the local economy as customers spend their bill savings, which creates more jobs in other sectors and boosts the economy. In addition, participating businesses can reduce their operating costs by lowering their energy bills.
Also, more certified professionals and skilled trade workers will be needed to launch these programs and complete energy efficiency projects across the region. Atlantic City Electric plans to invest $600,000 in workforce development efforts to support local workers and new businesses. The company will also adjust its existing workforce development programs to support careers in energy efficiency.
The new suite of programs will build on the company’s current offerings with more opportunities for residential customers and new opportunities for businesses. The company worked with stakeholders, other utilities and community partners through a collaborative process to collect input, evaluate national best practices and design the most cost-effective and beneficial programs. If approved by the BPU, the company will work with a number of local and regional vendors to begin offering initial programs starting in July 2021.
Based on the current proposal, the typical residential customer would see a 30-cent increase on their monthly bill in the first year of the programs. Customers who participate in the programs are expected to see a net savings on their energy billsThe company’s cost-benefit analyses show that the programs’ costs will be more than offset by savings and benefits for customers gained through bill savings for participating customers, economic growth and reduced pollution. In fact, for every dollar invested in these energy efficiency programs, AC Electric customers will receive nearly $4 in benefits.
AC Electric Region President Gary Stockbridge said everyone will be able to take advantage of the economic opportunities.
“We are committed to ensuring new jobs in the energy efficiency sector are filled locally and equitably across the communities we serve and that our programs help grow local, diverse and minority-owned businesses,” he said.
Allison Spinelli, the Cumberland, Salem and Cape May Workforce Development Board executive director, said it’s a win-win.
“These programs will bring good-paying jobs to the region and continue to grow New Jersey’s clean energy economy,” she said. “As the local economy continues to recover, expanding energy efficiency programs will provide numerous opportunities for local workers at a time when our region needs it.”
And as part of its broader commitment to ensure all customers have fair and equitable access to affordable solutions and the benefits of new energy services, Stockbridge said AC Electric designed nearly one-third of its proposed offerings to meet the needs of households with limited incomes.
Offerings include rebates for income-qualified customers on specific products and no-cost home energy checkups. In addition, the company is proposing a weatherization program that will install up to $7,500 in home energy retrofits at no cost for households with moderate incomes that are currently unable to participate in the Comfort Partners program.
People for People Foundation CEO Bernadette Blackstock said AC Electric’s proposed energy efficiency programs will be incredibly beneficial for South Jersey residents.
“The diverse set of programs provides numerous opportunities for households with limited incomes to save and that makes a huge difference for a family trying to make their rent or a veteran trying to purchase groceries,” she said. “When people can save on their energy bill, they can put that savings towards other essential needs.”
Atlantic City Electric’s proposed programs will also improve air quality in South Jersey. By significantly reducing customer energy demands, the programs will reduce local air pollution and improve the health of communities — especially communities of color, which disproportionately suffer the effects of poor air quality.
The programs are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million tons — the equivalent of removing nearly 300,000 cars from the road for one year — and reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 885 tons and nitrous oxide emissions by 783 tons.
Stockbridge said making offerings available to all is key.
“We cannot achieve a clean energy future without robust energy efficiency offerings that help all our customers save money and energy,” he said. “With cost-effective energy efficiency programs, all our customers benefit. Not only will customers have numerous opportunities to save money, but we can also create clean, sustainable jobs, help improve equity in our communities, combat the effects of climate change and improve air quality in our neighborhoods.”