Tag Archive: PSE&G

What’s Happening Today Thu. 10/31/2013

Happy Halloween Cory Booker: He resigned at Midnight as Mayor of Newark and will be sworn in at Noon today in the Capitol as New Jersey’s newest U. S. Senator by Vice President Joe Biden. Booker has an appointment with President Obama at 3:00pm. Booker’s predecessor as Mayor, the discredited and imprisoned Sharpe James, has said, “Booker will be a better Senator than Mayor”, which makes sense as his interests seem to be more in policies than management.

TransOptions Halloween Warnings and Tips: “Costumes, candy and distracted pedestrians walking in the dark are all part of the brew on Halloween night. While enjoying the excitement of trick-or-treating, you’re also four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Here are safety tips for trick or treaters.

“Nearly 1 Million New Jerseyans Will See Cuts to Food Assistance This Week”: NJ Public Policy further explains that the cut in food assistance is the result of the October 31 expiration of a modest boost in benefits to SNAP recipients that policymakers included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The House seeks even more cuts while the Senate resists. Unfortunately NJ does not have a Representative on the House Agriculture Committee – surprising as there is substantial farming in our State. (Even having “Farmer” Jon Runyan on the committee would be better than nothing, although he sees little need for safety nets.) Paul Krugman in the N. Y. Times says: “It has now become dogma on the right that the expansion of the SNAP program represents some kind of explosion of moocherism, not a safety net program… This despite clear evidence that the recent rise in SNAP participation is overwhelmingly a response to the economy.” President Obama recently named the Farm Bill as one of three major priorities for Congress. It is past time for the Senate and House to reach an agreement.

New Jersey Coalition for Affordable Power (NJCAP): which consists of the state chapters of  AARP, the Chemistry Council, Citizen Action, the Large Energy Users Coalition, PIRG, the Sierra Club and the Main Street Alliance will hold a conference call today to urge the Board of Public Utilities to reject PSE&G’s proposed infrastructure projects. NJCAP points out: “PSEG CEO gets a 21.7% pay raise in 2012, meanwhile, New Jerseyans are stuck paying some of the highest energy rates in the country and are being asked to foot PSE&G’s $4 billion bill for Energy Strong without questions.” There is no doubt that significantly more investment in NJ’s electrical infrastructure is needed to improve reliability. Nonetheless it seems the plan will generate millions in revenue for PSE&G and might leave millions of families behind. There should be more discussusion of the plan.

Buono/Silva campaign: Milly Silva: 6:20am, Radio interview with Bob Hennelly, WBAI 99.5 FM;  Barbara Buono: 10:00am, Buono Opportunity Tour: Higher Education, Montclair State University, Kasser Theater, 1 Normal Ave., Montclair;  11:30am Barbara Buono: with Working Families United for NJ leaders, Raise the Wage press conference, Perth Amboy City Hall, 260 High St.;  Barbara Buono: 2:30pm, Radio interview, Around the County Live, WSNJ 1240 AM;  Barbara Buono:  3:00pm, Radio Asia, 103.9 FM;  Barbara Buono: 3:15pm, Raidio iterview, Burns in Your Afternoon, WOND 1400 AM;  Barbara Buono: 5:00pm, Radio interview, WBCB 1490 AM.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10am, Ponzio’s Diner, Cherry Hill;  11am, Gloucester County campaign headquarters, Washington Township;  12:15pm, Elmer Diner, Elmer; 1:05pm, downtown walk starting at Juvante Formal, Vineland;  2:35pm, Cape May County campaign office, Ocean City.

What’s Happening Today Mon. 10/07/2013

Dear Governor Christie: When are you going to give us an accurate account regarding the disastrous decision to store NJ busses (half a biliion in assets) in low-lying parts of Kearny and Hoboken during Sandy? Did you shut down the local Fort Lee entrances to the GW Bridge in retaliation to the city’s mayor? What is your response to the  New York Federal Reserve Bank which has released a report showing that “the damage from your education budget cuts went deeper than we’d previously thought – and that New Jersey’s schools continue to bleed?” Are you putting your ambitions for the Presidency above your responsibilities for your curent job? I have many more questions, Sir, but you are a busy man with an extensive travel schedule. Looking forward to your response. Sincerely yours, … P.S. On the ballot initiative please vote for raising the minimum wage.  

No news is bad news: – 7th day of the shutdown: On Saturday Asbury Park held its annual Zombie Walk with plenty of people iooking mean, deranged, scary, and blood thirsty. Remind you of any legislators in Washington? Asbury Park was lots of fun, Washington not so much.

PUBLIC SCHEDULES:

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Milly Silva: 10:00am, 210 UAW Retiree Meeting, American Legion, 100 Liberty St., Little Ferry.  

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 11am, Grand opening of the Cooper Cancer Institute, Cooper University Hospital, Camden; 3:45pm, a “middle-class reform agenda event,” Precise Continental, Harrison; 5:00pm, greets supporters at Southern Bergen Victory Office, Carlstadt.

U. S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: midmorning, news conference, with the New Jersey State Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association, the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey and the Newark Firefighters Union, Hiker Park, Newark; 7:00pm, Fundraiser, Hudson Terrace, 621 W. 46th Street, New York City, for more info go here.

U. S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 7:30pm, fundraiser with Rep. Leonard Lance (R-CD7) Beaver Brook Country Club, 25 Country Club Drive, Annandale.

The non-profit US Strong: 1:00pm, with Sen. Robert Singer (D-30), releases a new report, “Extreme Weather, Extreme Costs: The True Financial Impact of Superstorm Sandy on New Jersey Homeowners, Businesses and Municipalities,” Point Pleasant Community Park.

Board of Public Utilities: 3:30 and 6:30pm, two public hearings on PSE&G’s request to raise rates 4.8 percent ($4 billion over the next decade) to make post-Sandy upgrades to its electric grid, Cherry Hill.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

Assembly Hearings on Utilities’ Response to Hurricane Sandy

Today, the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee held a hearing on the response of New Jersey’s electric and gas companies during and after Hurricane Sandy. Committee Chair Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula opened the meeting praising utility workers for working under very difficult conditions and expressed thanks that the number of injuries and deaths were kept low for a storm of this magnitude. He, along with several other members of the committee, had toured the affected area, and each noted that it’s difficult to fathom the extent of the damage without seeing it firsthand.

Prior to the testimony from the heads of the utilities, the committee heard from Stefanie Brand, the state’s Director of the Division of Rate Counsel. This is the entity that approves rate hike requests and is charged with representing the interests of consumers. Brand implored the committee not to just throw money at the problems encountered, but rather to integrate remediation costs within the current rate structure approval process.

Some of the proposed solutions that have been discussed in the aftermath of the storm were deemed too expensive by Brand and the utility chiefs. Underground power transmission lines, while less vulnerable to high winds, cost about $1 million per mile, and would be vulnerable to salt water effects in the barrier islands. (Interestingly, the above-ground power poles on Long Beach Island survived remarkably well.) While the utilities’ ability to pinpoint outages to the house level would be enhanced by “smart meters”, these too were deemed too expensive by Brand and the utilities. PSE&G head Ralph LaRossa said it would cost $1 billion to outfit all homes with these meters.

Utility CEOs recommended that the public be better educated on what is and what is not possible in order to set expectations adequately. Each time the utility chiefs brought this up, Chairman Chivukula reminded them that BPU President Hanna had given the utility companies a grade of “F” in their ability to communicate with customers.

Utilities relied on social media (and in the case of Atlantic City Electric, reverse 911) as their primary means of keeping customers informed.

So where do we go from here? I asked that to Chairman Chivukula after the hearing. His response is below. Other interesting tidbits from the hearing are below the fold.





The Wind Beneath our (Economic) Wings

There’s a term going around these days – “disruptive technology.” It refers to innovations that result in a totally new way of using technology to do something that causes an existing technology to rapidly become obsolete. One example is portable music players. Soon they will completely supplant compact disk recordings, which itself was a disruptive technology that replaced cassette tapes.

Generation of electrical energy from wind is not strictly a disruptive technology because it will not totally replace fossil fuels (at least in the near term), but it does hold the promise of clean energy while reducing our dependence on dirty fuels like coal, oil, and uranium.

PSE&G will apply for new nuclear reactor

The Press of Atlantic City has news that the 4th Salem reactor project is moving forward:

The owner of three nuclear power plants in Salem County plans to get paperwork moving to build a fourth in May.

PSE&G, owner of the Salem 1 and 2 and Hope Creek plants, will submit an early-site permit application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for what would be New Jersey’s fifth nuclear power plant and the first built here since 1986.

The application does not obligate the company to build a plant but merely identifies a location and explains why it is secure and environmentally suitable, said Joe Delmar, spokesman for PSE&G.

We’ve discussed new nuclear power before. Having grown up in Long Island, I have more fears of a Shoreham disaster ($6 billion for a plant that wan’t used) than anything else, so I am mildly supportive. My wife, I should say, is unalterably opposed. Here is a 2007 letter on the subject from Norm Cohen of Unplug Salem:

I am opposed to PSEG building a new nuclear plant at their Artificial Island site in Salem County. After all, we’re talking about PSEG, the company whose CEO was quoted as saying that “mediocrity is acceptable. This is PSEG, the company who we at UNPLUG Salem called “The Gang That Couldn’t Nuke Straight”. This is PSEG, which ran Salem Units 1 and 2 so badly in the past that they had to be shut down for years for repair. This is PSEG, which, thanks to a courageous whistleblower, was investigated by, and placed on extra oversight by, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) due to a poor safety culture. Things were so bad at PSEG that they had to import staff from Exelon to help make things safer, at least in the short run, at Salem/Hope Creek.

That’s just the start. What do you think?

Proposed Power Line vote postponed by BPU

Opponents of a massive power line planned to start in Hardwick and go all the way through Roseland have seen the BPU delay a decision while they consider new information:

A pending decision by the state Board of Public Utilities on a massive North Jersey power line project may be postponed to allow consideration of possible new evidence on the need or demand for the additional power, officials said today.

The BPU was poised to decide the fate of the 45-mile, $750 million high-voltage Susquehanna-Roseland power line proposed by PSE&G next Friday. However, it was asked by participants in the case to consider a recent decision by a related power provider in the mid-Atlantic region to withdraw a similar power line project application.

PATH Allegheny Virginia Transmission Corp. has asked for permission from a Virginia regulatory agency to withdraw its proposal to build a 276-mile, $1.8 billion high-voltage transmission line from West Virginia, through Virginia and to Maryland, due to a weak economy and growing energy conservation movement.

While environmental groups think that the line is not necessary and other companies are backing off, it doesn’t seem like this delay is going to change PSE&G’s attempts to move forward. They said they still think that the record will show they need more power for reliability reasons. This is what PSE&G’s website says about the current system:

The existing power line was built in the 1920s and can’t handle the modern load. The experts who manage the regional grid warn that we risk blackouts and brownouts starting in 2012 if we don’t act. Most of the 23 circuits at risk for overload are in New Jersey.

Here’s more on the proposed power line and the debate over the necessity of it:

The proposed Susquehanna-Roseland power line would allow for new, higher towers to carry more voltage along an existing tower route through Warren, Sussex, Morris and Essex counties.

PSE&G contends the transmission line is needed to maintain reliability of the regional electricity grid. But opponents say it would harm the state’s environment to help provide power in other regions and profits for the company.

Environmental groups say that if more power is necessary, there are better alternatives than 195 foot tall transmission towers. There’s a pretty eye opening video at opposethetowers.com with local leaders talking about the potential impact of the project on their towns:

Among the many concerns they list are a decrease in property values of homes along the line route. The BPU commissioner will now have to decide if the Virginia information should get added to the public record. If the entire BPU board agrees, that would delay a final decision on the power line for an unknown period of time.

Greed piled on top of dishonesty

It was the summer of 2000 when the term “rolling blackout” came to the nightly news.  The term was widely misunderstood, and, of course, the reporting did nothing to clarify the matter.  Worse, the official governmental explanation for the rolling blackouts was, to be generous, a lie.  It’s important for us to understand what happened in California, though, because PSE&G is now running a fear campaign that is trying to convince us that New Jersey is set up for an even more catastrophic failure.

The explanation is a bit long – so get a drink and make the jump.