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Chivukula, Singleton & Greenwald Bill to Save Taxpayer Money & Create Jobs Through Energy Savings Released by Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Upendra Chivukula, Troy Singleton and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald to improve the energy savings improvement program available to the state’s public entities was released Wednesday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-2313) revises the 2009 law authorizing the state’s public entities to participate in an energy savings improvement program.
Through such programs, public organizations can contract with energy services companies to implement energy saving measures. Money saved through the reduction in energy expenses help cut the cost of energy infrastructure improvements. Public agencies will have the ability to benefit from the acquisition of new, efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, as well as other energy-saving improvements without the need for large upfront capital expenditures.
Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex), Singleton (D-Burlington) and Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) said their bill will revise the program to make it easier for public entities to reach agreements and streamline energy infrastructure improvements.
“Energy Savings Improvement Programs can be a valuable asset, and with these improvements to the program we’ll be taking a large stride toward realizing taxpayer savings,” Chivukula said. “Energy Savings Improvement Programs allow government entities to make energy related improvements to their facilities and pay for the costs using the value of energy savings that result from the improvements made, but this valuable program has been undersubscribed since its inception due to a lack of clarity in the procedures. By streamlining these procedures, we’ll be benefiting taxpayers throughout New Jersey.”
“This bill seeks to make Energy Savings Improvement Programs more efficient and transparent for participating government entities,” Singleton said. “The expectation is that by eliminating the burdens and disincentives that exist in statute, the state and other public entities will undertake more ESIP projects, thus creating employment opportunities and tax savings. By streamlining this process, we’ll be making it easier to save taxpayer money, and that’s always a win for everyone.”
“We need to promote partnerships that can lead to direct energy savings and protect taxpayers since, after all, the cost of operating energy-inefficient buildings impacts everyone,” Greenwald said. “We need to do everything we can to ensure this program runs smoothly and that as the annual energy savings from these programs grow, more and more buildings can be rehabilitated to make them cost-efficient and make their operation less costly to taxpayers. That’s common sense and a victory for taxpayers and job creation.”
The bill will allow for state agencies to enter into ESIPs, which they had not previously been able to do. For projects involving state agencies and institutions of higher education, the bill would expand the ability of the ESCOs to use competitive contracting, which allow the contractor to award a contract to the vendor whose proposal is found to be the most advantageous, price and other factors considered, as opposed to the lowest responsible bidder. This is important to ESCOs, who often guarantee the consumer that a certain amount of savings will be realized. ESCOs, by and large, feel that if they are going to expose themselves with a guarantee, they should have the ability to select the most qualified subcontractors to carry out the work.
The bill would create a standardized RFP for ESIP projects and eliminate elements within an ESCO’s proposed energy savings plan that are subject to variation or miscalculation, specifically capital cost avoidance and SRECs.
Finally, the bill would specify that all subcontractors engaged in ESIPs must pay their workers the minimum wage, guaranteeing that this program will lead to the support and creation of good-paying jobs for New Jersey workers in this sector.
The bill was released by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee chaired by Chivukula.