CHIVUKULA, GREENSTEIN & VAINIERI HUTTLE BILL TO ALLOW MORE BUSINESSES TO QUALIFY FOR ENERGY INCENTIVES ADVANCED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

(TRENTON) — Pro-business legislation Assembly members Upendra Chivukula, Linda Greenstein and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to allow more businesses to qualify for energy-related incentives and funding was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-906) requires equal opportunity for businesses that pay societal benefits charges to apply to the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) for energy-related incentives and funding.

“All businesses that pay this charge, no matter where they’re located, should have access to this vital program that supports renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex), who chairs the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee that released the bill. “Helping businesses grow and prosper is the right thing to do as we battle through this recession.”

Under current law, the BPU focuses these incentive grants on designated growth areas, pursuant to the State Plan.

This legislation would direct the BPU to also make these grants available to businesses that pay the charge in parts of the state that are not specifically designated for growth.

“Whether a business that pays these charges can benefit from these incentives and funding has nothing to do with where they are located,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “Job growth and economic development is crucial throughout our state.”

“A map shouldn’t decide whether a business gets this vital help,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “What should matter is whether energy-related incentives and funding offered by this program can spur business and job growth and boost our economy.”

Utilities have historically included in their rates funding for programs that provide societal benefits such as low income programs, nuclear decommissioning and funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. New Jersey’s 1999 electric utility restructuring legislation authorized the BPU to permit utilities to continue collecting funds for these types of programs in a restructured utility market through a “societal benefits charge”

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