New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) has filed with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), seeking to significantly expand its energy efficiency offerings to help customers, including public entities, save money, manage their energy usage and reduce emissions. NJNG also proposes a new solar program at its facilities, providing the systems’ annual energy savings to low income households in its service area, doubling the benefit for those participating in the state’s utility assistance program.
The filing is designed to increase consumer access to energy efficiency with information about how to lower energy costs and provides rebates, incentives and special financing for residential, low-income (including seniors and the disabled), public entities, commercial and industrial customers. These programs support New Jersey’s energy-efficiency and clean energy goals.
Pending BPU approval, NJNG is planning to invest in excess of $341 million over the six-year program, consisting of approximately $158 million of direct investment and $183 million in financing options. The investment will be funded at a cost of $302 million by customers over the next 30 years. The average annual impact for the typical residential heating customer using 1,000 therms per year over the life of the program is estimated to be $14.74 or 1.4 percent. Expected savings for participating customers will range from 1 to 30 percent depending on the program utilized, creating energy savings totaling $605 million over the 30-year period. Further, if fully subscribed, the program will result in a reduction of more than 3.4 million tons in carbon dioxide emissions.
“Energy efficiency is one of the most effective ways to help customers save energy and money, protect our environment and create a stronger and fairer clean energy economy,” said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of New Jersey Natural Gas. “We have already helped our customers save $374 million through programs that reduce natural gas usage, and our efforts have protected the environment by preventing the release of 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which equates to removing approximately 400,000 cars from New Jersey’s roads each year. We look forward to bringing these expanded and innovative programs to all of our customers to help reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.”
Since 2009, NJNG has invested more than $150 million in energy-efficiency programs through The SAVEGREEN Project®, generating $371 million in economic activity in its service territory while reducing greenhouse emissions. Over the last decade, more than 50,000 customers have participated in SAVEGREEN, helping to grow the green energy economy for the more than 2,600 contractors who have participated in the program.
To increase the energy efficiency opportunities for customers, NJNG proposes expanding for residential customers its current SAVEGREEN offerings of rebates and incentives for qualifying equipment replacement and comprehensive home energy measures. The offerings provide customers with repayment and financing options and new lower cost energy-saving measures, as well as special terms for low- to moderate-income households to help implement whole-house and other energy saving solutions.
Low Income Solar
To ensure all customers, especially those most in need, have access to affordable energy, NJNG intends to invest and install solar at its facilities to help bring the benefits and savings of solar to a subset of low-income customers. The value of the annual energy savings and solar renewable energy certificates from the systems will be provided to eligible customers through annual credits on their natural gas bills. This innovative program is estimated to effectively double the benefits they receive from Lifeline, a state utility assistance program for eligible seniors and the disabled.
Commercial and Industrial Offerings
In addition to the residential programs, included in the filing are financial incentives for commercial customers to help address the upfront costs of energy-efficient equipment and whole-building energy improvements, as well as retro-commissioning and energy management to maximize savings and reduce payback time.
With a focus on equity, the company will also target public entities with high energy demand — municipalities, schools, universities, nonprofits, healthcare and multifamily housing. NJNG is proposing a combination of incentives to cover the cost of energy-efficiency projects for qualified entities. The proposal also takes into consideration the energy efficiency potential of smaller commercial customers (using 5,000 therms or less), providing an energy assessment with coaching and training, along with upfront incentives to cover the costs of energy improvement measures.
NJNG plans to collaborate with community organizations serving the needs of low- to moderate-income households and seniors to provide no-cost weatherization/conservation kits and other resources that can help these customers manage their energy bills. NJNG also intends to pilot a new approach in an all-electric development in Ocean County to help its senior residents achieve energy efficiency by converting their equipment to natural gas, and providing other upgrades, smart thermostats and conservation kits to maximize their energy savings. The measures will be provided at no cost to these seniors and help reduce their energy burden, providing an estimated 35 to 50 percent in annual savings on their energy bills.
The company’s PowerSave Schools program will also be extended beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year to 100 schools. In partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy, PowerSave trains students to identify and implement energy savings. The historical savings observed through the PowerSave program is 5 to 15 percent nationwide, which reduces the tax burden on communities.
New Technology Approaches
NJNG also plans to fund investments in new technologies to help gain critical insights on new energy efficiency solutions that supports the state’s longer term strategies for reaching climate goals and building a fair, clean energy economy.
Pending BPU approval, NJNG will earn a return on its investments at its currently allowed weighted average cost of capital.
About New Jersey Resources
New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) is a Fortune 1000 company that, through its subsidiaries, provides safe and reliable natural gas and clean energy services, including transportation, distribution, asset management and home services. NJR is composed of five primary businesses:
- New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR’s principal subsidiary, operates and maintains over 7,400 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to serve over half a million customers in New Jersey’s Monmouth, Ocean and parts of Morris, Middlesex and Burlington counties.
- NJR Clean Energy Ventures invests in, owns and operates solar and onshore wind projects with a total capacity of more than 300 megawatts, providing residential and commercial customers with low-carbon solutions.
- NJR Energy Services manages a diversified portfolio of natural gas transportation and storage assets and provides physical natural gas services and customized energy solutions to its customers across North America.
- NJR Midstream serves customers from local distributors and producers to electric generators and wholesale marketers through its 50 percent equity ownership in the Steckman Ridge natural gas storage facility and its stake in Dominion Midstream Partners, L.P., as well as its 20 percent equity interest in the PennEast Pipeline Project.
- NJR Home Services provides service contracts as well as heating, central air conditioning, water heaters, standby generators, solar and other indoor and outdoor comfort products to residential homes throughout New Jersey.