About 1,500 apartment buildings, untold private homes, 1,500 K-12 public schools, 1,200 commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities, 195 county government buildings and 143 auto body shops, religious facilities and other buildings, would be impacted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s boiler electrification regulations.
Many opponents of the bill have stated there was no electrification mandate. The New Jersey Register proposal belies these statements. The first step in Governor Murphy’s electrification mandate has actually began in 2021, starting with a boiler electrification mandate for small and midsize buildings, schools, and offices, among others, to be completed by 2025.
An effort being coordinated by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership points out:
The Murphy Administration is beginning the process of mandating electrification of single-family homes.
TNJR 1953 (page 43) the NJDEP proposal reads:
“Pursuant to the proposed amendments at N.J.A.C. 7:27-8.14, 8.18, and 22.16, as well as proposed new N.J.A.C. 7:27F-4.2, Applicability, and 4.4, Additional requirement necessary to permit a fossil fuel-fired boiler with a maximum gross heat input rating equal to or greater than one MMBTU/hr and less than five MMBTU/hr, on or after January 1, 2025, the Department will not issue a permit for a fossil fuel-fired boiler with a maximum gross heat input rating equal to or greater than one MMBTU/hr and less than five MMBTU/hr, unless the owner or operator has met the additional requirement at proposed N.J.A.C. 7:27F-4.4. Specifically, an application for a permit or permit revision submitted pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:27-8 or 22, must demonstrate that a fossil fuel free heating mechanism is technically infeasible, based on physical, chemical, or engineering principles; or is infeasible because interruption in boiler operations caused by an electrical outage could jeopardize public health, life, or safety.
While “electrification “is feasible, this regulation, for example, will cost Rutgers University $500 million. Families and businesses will have no other options in their clean energy sources to achieve “net zero carbon fuel.”
The first phase of new regulations is set to take effect December 6, 2022. The mandate will eliminate gas powered furnaces, boilers and water heaters and force their “electrification.”
A coalition of 32 business and labor organizations has sent a letter to state Senate President Nick Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to halt the building-electrification mandate, in the legislature until a full analysis of costs can be developed. The mandate was not even shown to the legislature for a vote, as were many other regulations that were slipped into Murphy’s budget plan submitted and signed on June 30th.
The diverse group told Scutari (D-Linden) and Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) that the new rules will be costly, and be implemented without proper approval.
The pointed letter states that, “Unfortunately, the electrification of the building sector is not only expensive, but is moving forward without Legislative authorization. The first regulation mandating building electrification will be acted upon in less than 90 days. (December 6, 2022).
The coalition went on to say that, cost estimates to replace a 1.5 million BTU gas boiler with an electric boiler begin at an estimated $2 million, when including the retrofitting of the building and conversion of [fuel changeover to] the electrical system.
Homeowners will have to bear the estimated $4k–$7k but some say the cost will be more like $20k–$30k. So far, there is no plan for subsidies.
“The NJDEP has stated it will cost 4-5 times more to heat buildings with electricity as opposed to natural gas,” they wrote. “Additionally, the NJDEP did not provide the cost estimate to convert a building’s electrical system so it can run an electric boiler of that size. Compliance with this regulation will lead to significant increases in rents, property taxes and grocery bills, at a time when the Legislature is focused on reducing these costs.”
Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has not sought input from lawmakers on the electrification mandate of the building sector, which is moving forward without legislative authority.
The coalition wrote, “We respectfully request that both the Senate and Assembly engage in the building-electrification policy by consideration of these bills or through alternative means.”
Legislation has now been introduced as pending, S2671 and A3935, which would halt the building-electrification mandate until a full analysis of costs can be developed.
The letter was signed jointly by the following organizations:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of New Jersey
- Alliance of Auto Service Providers – N.J. (auto body shops)
- Associated Builders and Contractors – N.J.
- Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
- Chemistry Council of New Jersey
- Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
- Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC 825)
- Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey
- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 28
- International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825
- Meadowlands Chamber
- Mid-Atlantic Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association
- NAIOP – N.J.
- National Federation of Independent Businesses – N.J.
- New Jersey Apartment Association
- New Jersey Builders Association
- New Jersey Business & Industry Association
- New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
- New Jersey Concrete and Aggregate Association
- New Jersey Jewish Business Alliance
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 9
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 24
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 274
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 322
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 475
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 692
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 696
- New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 855
- New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association
- New Jersey State League of Master Plumbers
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors – N.J.
- Utility & Transportation Contractors Association – N.J.
If you think retrofit electrification is a bad idea you can go to SmartHeatNJ.com, click the “Contact Your Legislators” button, enter your ZIP code and and name along with a short message. There is an auto populated message, but you can include your personal concerns with this plan.