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PSE&G Proposes Innovative Programs to Conserve Energy and Cut Carbon Emissions


Carbon Abatement Pilot Programs Would Spur Energy Conservation and Reduce Carbon Emissions Across All Customer Segments

Several initiatives would benefit customers in Trenton and Newark

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) today unveiled new carbon abatement programs designed to curb customers’ energy consumption, and result in lower customer bills and a meaningful reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

In a filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the company proposed to provide energy-saving measures such as home energy audits, programmable thermostats, attic insulation and high-efficiency lighting upgrades through the implementation of six pilot programs. The proposal, if approved by the BPU, would enable the utility and regulators to determine the best way to implement broader initiatives to reach the state’s aggressive carbon reduction goals.

“During the past year, PSE&G has taken a number of steps to reduce its own energy use and carbon footprint,” said Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G president and COO. “And we have been encouraging our customers to do the same. To have a meaningful impact on carbon emissions, however, we need to give customers greater direct access to energy-saving tools and information that will lead to real reductions.”

“Several of the pilot programs we are proposing are also targeted to those customers who find it the most difficult to make the up-front investments in energy-saving measures,” he said. ”These investments should be just as accessible in cities like Trenton and Newark as they are in suburban towns. That will happen with the right commitment, the right partnerships and resources.”

PSE&G will commit up to $5 million to provide the carbon abatement programs. The filing seeks to recover the investment, not otherwise repaid by customers participating in the programs, through an energy charge adjustment. Under PSE&G’s proposal, a typical residential customer would pay about a penny a month for eight years for the carbon abatement initiative.

Residential and small business programs in Trenton and Newark

Under the company’s proposal, three of the six pilot programs will be offered to customers in Trenton and Newark. Customers who qualify for the Residential Home Energy Tune-up, for example, will receive an energy audit, including a blower door test, that will identify steps they can take to make their home more energy efficient. PSE&G will also install caulking, weather-stripping, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and a programmable thermostat, as well as other efficiency measures as recommended in the audit. The installation of these items will be provided free of charge to low income customers, while other customers will be required to repay a portion of the cost over two years.

Through the Programmable Thermostat Installation Program, PSE&G technicians will install new thermostats during routine utility-related service calls to customers in Trenton and Newark. Customers will also receive an energy savings kit, including CFL bulbs.

“The programs PSE&G is announcing today demonstrate the power of Trenton Green,” said Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer. “Together, public and private sector partners -- with a shared vision of ’local control of climate control’ -- can bring this movement directly to our neighborhoods. Together, we can help empower residents and small business owners to find ways to pay less for their energy and become more involved in the critical effort to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. This is what we all need to do.”

New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman added,” All communities need to understand the importance of energy efficiency to protect our environment. The role of older and urban communities is essential in recognizing that it is not just a community’s role, but an individual’s responsibility to do whatever they can to help protect the environment in which we all live. Even though often times the upfront cost associated with energy efficiency makes it unattainable for lower income communities, with PSE&G’s help we can make this necessary goal a reality. This partnership is socially responsible and recognizes the significant collective effort that is needed to preserve and protect our future.”

In addition to the pilots for residential customers, a similar program will be available to small business owners in these two urban centers. Eligible customers will receive an energy assessment, and direct installation of basic efficiency measures, such as lighting upgrades, insulation, and more energy efficient refrigeration and heating and cooling systems. These customers would be required to repay a portion of the installation costs over two years.

Large business and hospital technology demonstration programs

PSE&G’s proposal also includes conservation and carbon reduction initiatives for large warehouses that could benefit from more efficient lighting systems. PSE&G is collaborating with Orion Energy Systems to provide high-bay lighting equipped with lamp and ballast products of ecomagination from GE Consumer & Industrial, “day lighting” light tubes and a lighting control system that automatically dims the fixtures when there is sufficient natural light, thereby saving energy and money. PSE&G will provide financial incentives that will enable customers to recover their investment in two years through energy and operating savings.

The final two programs proposed by PSE&G are targeted for existing hospitals and new construction hospitals, with priority given to non-profit facilities. Based on a comprehensive energy audit, hospitals will receive financial incentives to make it more cost effective for them to upgrade their facilities.

“A utility like PSE&G can play a critically important role in organizing, developing and implementing a carbon-reduction effort that makes energy savings universally accessible for our customers, promotes economic development in our communities, and makes a big difference for the environment,” LaRossa said. “It’s essential to get the ball rolling to a lower carbon future if our state is to have any chance of reaching its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

If approved by the BPU and implemented, the carbon abatement initiative would save about 143,000 tons of carbon dioxide during a 10-year period.


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