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N.J. to offer renewable energy surcharge

TRENTON New Jersey will be the first to offer a statewide program in which all the state's electric customers can opt to pay more in their monthly bills to use energy that comes from renewable sources.

In this month's electric bill, consumers will get a registration form for the Clean Power Choice program, in which they can choose to pay an average $6 to $9 more per month to add electricity to the grid from "clean" sources such as solar and wind.

A coalition of business, energy, environmental and municipal officials touted the measure Thursday as a way to help the environment and economy and decrease the use of fossil fuels.

"We're offering New Jersey residents an opportunity to invest in the economy and the environmental well-being of New Jersey," Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne M. Fox said.

Environmentalists said signing up for the program will improve air quality and slow the threat of global warming.

"When you choose clean power, you are choosing to protect our state's coastline," Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said. "If that's not enough of a reason, when you choose clean power, you are choosing to protect the air quality in this state."

Even though residents are facing increased taxes under Gov. Jon S. Corzine's proposed budget, the program's supporters predict that some will volunteer for the surcharge,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
In this month's electric bill, consumers will get a registration form for the Clean Power Choice program, in which they can choose to pay an average $6 to $9 more per month to add electricity to the grid from "clean" sources such as solar and wind.

A coalition of business, energy, environmental and municipal officials touted the measure Thursday as a way to help the environment and economy and decrease the use of fossil fuels.

"We're offering New Jersey residents an opportunity to invest in the economy and the environmental well-being of New Jersey," Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne M. Fox said.

Environmentalists said signing up for the program will improve air quality and slow the threat of global warming.

"When you choose clean power, you are choosing to protect our state's coastline," Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said. "If that's not enough of a reason, when you choose clean power, you are choosing to protect the air quality in this state."

Even though residents are facing increased taxes under Gov. Jon S. Corzine's proposed budget, the program's supporters predict that some will volunteer for the surcharge, comparing it to supporting a charity, though without the benefits of a write-off.

"There are a lot of people who won't be able to for financial reasons. We don't expect them to," Fox said. "But there are a lot of people who contribute to different causes that are very much supportive of protecting the environment."

Alan A. Zox of Sterling Planet Inc., which supplies wind, landfill gas and small-hydro power, said people will respond to the cause because it impacts them.

"It's very nominal. It's a very small cost," Zox said. "It's a few bucks a month that can truly make a difference. It's not like giving to the Red Cross. It directly impacts the quality of life in their state."

Since October, when the state's two largest electric companies, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. and Jersey Central Power & Light Co., started the program, 3,000 customers have signed up. No one would guess how many of the state's 3.7 million electric customers will now join.

Participants sign up to switch their electric supplier to one of four BPU-approved companies. The supplier puts the electricity into the utility grid that now delivers power to homes, but that power isn't directly delivered to a program participant.

Clean energy used through this program will not be counted toward the state's mandates. Currently, 3.5 percent of energy in the state is clean, and that number is mandated to rise to 4 percent by 2008. The BPU will consider a measure next week to raise the amount to 20 percent by 2020.

Reach Gregory J. Volpe at gvolpe@gannett.com


Source: http://www.courierpostonlin...

APR 7 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/2072-n-j-to-offer-renewable-energy-surcharge
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