Energy-savings contract bills advance

TRENTON – After less than 10 minutes from the time the hearing began, the Assembly Telecommunications Committee released two bills

TRENTON – After less than 10 minutes from the time the hearing began, the Assembly Telecommunications Committee released two bills today concerning public entities – local governments, school boards, counties and agencies – that enter into guaranteed energy savings contracts.

According to the state Clean Energy Program, the Energy Savings Improvement Program allows such entities to make energy-related improvements.

They pay for the start-up costs by “using the value of energy savings that result from the improvements.” The companies that perform the energy saving projects at the public facilities are known as energy services companies, or ESCOs. 

Certain changes were made to the final bills, A2313 and A2564, that were released today.

For example, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, (D-17), of Somerset, said ESCOs can’t include savings calculations in proposals they submit to public entities that include values of the solar renewable energy certificates, or SRECs, given their volatile range in prices.

The savings in energy costs for public entities could be passed down to the residents they serve.

Chivukula said the bill will help create jobs, since ESCOs will be more likely to hire workers if there’s great demand by entities to enter into contracts with energy savings projects.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton, (D-7), Mount Laurel, a co-sponsor, expressed enthusiastic support, calling it “a job creator on steroids, in my opinion.”

“It will spur environmental protection and safeguard our environment through better technology,” he said. “We’re going to put people to work.”

Other supporters of the bill included David Smith of Princeton Public Affairs.

Assemblywoman Donna Simon, (R-16), Flemington, voted to move it out of committee, but requested a fiscal note describing the savings.

Energy-savings contract bills advance