ASSEMBLY APPROVES CHIVUKULADIEGNANMcKEON MEASURE TO EMPOWER MUNICIPALITIES TO SHARE ENERGY SERVICES
(TRENTON) Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Upendra J. Chivukula, Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and John F. McKeon that would empower municipalities to share energy services was approved Monday by the Assembly.
“This is a breakthrough measure that would empower towns to lower costs and leverage efficiencies by pooling their resources to purchase and develop safe and reliable energy sources at more affordable rates,” Assembly Telecom and Utilities Chairman Chivukula (D-Somerset) said.
The measure (A-3668) would authorize three or more municipalities to establish a shared services energy company (company) that could enter into contracts with municipal electric utilities, other public agencies, and private entites for the purchase and sale of electricty at wholesale rates. The terms and conditions of these contracts would be in keeping with federal law.
Similar ‘companies,’ commonly referred to as joint-action agencies exist in 37 other states.
The bill would override the existing “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act,” which does not permit such joint operations.
“When it comes to the generation and transmission of electricity, economies of a larger scale can result in lower electric rates. Considering the high cost of infrastructure development, the ability to invest in robust power producing projects serves as a distinct advantage for New Jersey residents. This measure would accomplish those goals.” Diegnan (D-Middlesex) said.
“By enabling municipalities to enter into effective shared service contracts and allowing for aggregation in the marketplace, this measure would drive competition and help lower costs that could be passed on as savings to the taxpayer,” McKeon (D-Essex) said.
The Essex county lawmaker served as mayor of West Orange for 12 years.
The measure would also authorize the ‘company’ to develop sources for the utilization of renewable capacity and energy at wholesale rates in addition to the generation and transmission of electric power and energy.
Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III (R-BordertownBurlington) is a prime sponsor of the bipartisan measure.