Wish list for 2023: Affordable Energy for N.J. asking BPU for more transparency regarding costs of state’s Energy Master Plan

Affordable Energy for New Jersey Executive Director Ron Morano was pleased in early December when the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection pulled back its mandate for the electrification of boilers from the PACT Rules that are part of the implementation of the first phase of the state’s Energy Master Plan.

More than that, Morano was thrilled to hear why the DEP said it did so: It was an acknowledgement of the financial implications that come with the state’s Energy Master Plan, Morano said.

Morano and AENJ, the state’s leading voice for transparency in energy policy for rate and taxpayers, said more transparency is needed in addressing concerns regarding pace, cost and predicted energy demand of electrification by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Morano said he hopes such transparency will be part of efforts moving forward in 2023.

“It is time for the NJBPU to heed the warning of the NJDEP and acknowledge the reality of the situation,” Morano said. “The singular assumption of the Energy Master Plan put forward by the NJBPU, which Affordable Energy for New Jersey questioned from the start, is that we can electrify everything, yet somehow demand for electricity will decrease. This has now clearly been debunked by the NJDEP, and we appreciate their honesty.”

Morano’s group said common sense and simple logic would say that, by drastically increasing the amount of electricity-dependent devices and equipment, the demand for electricity would increase — and the BPU continues to claim otherwise despite all evidence to the contrary.

The fact that the DEP is now joining the chorus of critics when they claim in official regulatory filings that electricity demand is expected to double flies directly in the face of every assumption and potential scenario considered in the original 2019 New Jersey Integrated Energy Plan, a document with proprietary formulas that served as the foundation for the Energy Master Plan, AENJ said.

The challenging of these fundamental assumptions in the Energy Master Plan was one of the first items questioned by Affordable Energy for New Jersey at its founding.

Since that day, Morano said AENJ has simply asked the NJBPU to open their books to make their assumptions and calculations available for standard scientific peer review.