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(TRENTON) Assembly Utilities Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula today announced that it is important to update the landmark EDECA (Electric Discount and Energy Competition) Act of 1999 to reflect changes in the marketplace and to evolve a fully articulated retail energy policy for New Jersey as well as a road map for the industry towards achieving those policy goals.

Chivukula made the announcement after the Assembly Telecom & Utilities Committee recently heard testimony from stakeholders on issues concerning the State’s retail electric supply policy and ways to better serve New Jersey’s ratepayers.

“It’s been nearly fifteen years since the deregulation of New Jersey’s power industry following the enactment of EDECA in 1999, and we find that the passage of the law has not realized one of its most important objectives – to spur retail competition. The state’s power and energy industry continue to be dominated by major utilities with small companies having a very small share,” Chivukula (D-Somerset\Middlesex) said.

“On Thursday, we heard testimony from stakeholders on the state of the energy marketplace in New Jersey and the challenges to competition, that will help us explore solutions including legislative fixes that will ultimately benefit ratepayers,” Chivukula said. “We look forward to moving forward to promote a robust and sustainable competitive retail market that provides value added products and services to consumers.”

The witnesses who testified at the recent hearing of the Assemly Utilities panel included Stephanie Brand, NJ Rate Counsel; Bruce Burcat, Executive Director, MAREC (Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition); Robert Barkanic, Sr. Director, Energy Policy for Pennsylvania Power & Light; and Jay Kooper, NJ State Chairman, RESA (Retail Energy Supply Association).

Witnesses testified on the following issues:

  • lowering the threshold for fixed pricing down from demand loads of 500 KW to 250 KW;
  • increasing consumer education on price and service comparison;
  • moving the obligation of compliance with Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which is the amount of renewable energy entities like utilities are required to purchase, from Basic Generation Service (BGS) suppliers to Electric Distribution Companies (EDC’s) through long-term contracts;
  • Encourage long-term contracting that would enable renewable energy developers such as wind energy companies to make necessary investments to keep pace with the increasing requirements and would prevent price volatitliy.