TRENTON – The Senate Economic Growth Committee released a bill today that would change the way the state’s public entities and bidders participate in energy savings improvement programs by a 4-1 vote.
Sen. James Beach (D-6), Cherry Hill, is the sponsor of the bill, S1753.
The bill provides that a state contracting agency, when implementing an energy service improvement program, will use a competitive selection process by gathering proposals, and submitted proposals that do not include projected energy savings will be rejected.
Alan O’Shea, the executive director of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New Jersey, testified against S1753 because the bill allows state agencies to use a competitive selection process instead of a public bidding process, which he said would cause the price of services to rise because of a shrinking bidder pool. O’Shea said the bill would not create a level playing field for contractors.
Sen. Richard Codey, (D-27), Livingston, voted no.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, Sen. Steve Oroho, (R-24), Sparta, Sen. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), Union, and Sen. Joseph Kyrillos Jr., (R-13), Middletown, voted yes, but all of the senators asked that the sponsor continue to amend the bill.
Ameresco, a renewable energy company, testified in favor of the bill.
S1753 also requires the Board of Public Utilities to establish a standard request for proposals that will be used for all ESIP projects for state agencies. The BPU’s enforcement would be strengthened under the bill.
Fred Brody of Brody Business Development also spoke in favor of the bill, saying that stalled projects may be able to move forward.
“(The bill) will allow the BPU to be in charge of the program, making sure the energy savings take place and allow the RFP’s to come out,” Brody said.