New Jersey consumers deserve to know what electric conversion mandates will cost them under the State’s Energy Master Plan and other related energy programs, according to regulatory comments filed by the New Jersey Propane Gas Association (NJPGA).
Although the Master Plan was updated in 2019, incomplete cost estimates were only disclosed Aug. 17 by the State Board of Public Utilities (BPU), without addressing the largest prospective cost categories that consumers will face. The cost estimates are also fraught with pricing forecasts and other assumptions with little or no supporting documentation.
In addition to hiding prospective costs to consumers, the Energy Master Plan would prevent consumers from choosing an energy source that best fits their needs—and budgets. The Plan would force consumers to go all-electric for their homes and businesses while incurring operating costs four to five times greater than propane, natural gas or fuel oil. New equipment and retrofitting would incur thousands more for each electric conversion, a cost category ignored by the BPU’s cost estimates.
In its comments about the State Clean Energy Program and its New Construction component, NJPGA objected “to the inherent bias described in the New Construction Program’s repeated references to electrification of new and existing structures. Despite the Clean Energy Program’s stated goals of energy efficiency, the proposed updates ignore the significant costs and tradeoffs implicit for electrification.
“There appears to be no hint, let alone discussion or analyses of the costs of equipment, conversion and operating costs..”
NJPGA continued, “The New Construction Program’s objectives discourage investigation of energy options, including propane, which are safe and often more cost-effective than electrification, with environmental advantages.”
According to publicly available statistics, using propane produces 43% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid. And, next to solar and wind, propane is one of the cleanest renewable fuels approved under the (federal) Clean Air Act.
NJPGA said, “Everyone wants a clean environment. Everyone likewise needs to know the full costs of the State’s planned energy transition, and how that transition will dictate enormous costs to consumers compared to the energy choices they currently enjoy.”
NJPGA (www.njpga.org) is the statewide trade association representing propane distribution and service companies serving more than 120,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers who rely on propane for their energy needs including space heating, water heating, cooking, recreational uses, manufacturing processes and transportation.