North Jersey electricity bills going up?
December 25, 2014 Last updated: Thursday, December 25, 2014, 1:21 AM
By DAVE SHEINGOLD
STAFF WRITER |
North Jerseyans could face another round of electricity rate hikes under a disputed multibillion-dollar proposal by the manager of the nation’s largest electric grid that is aimed at making sure power plants across a 13-state region continue to operate, no matter how hot or cold it gets.
The plan was proposed by PJM Interconnection LLC, and it comes as regulators and the energy industry are struggling to improve the regional power grid while containing costs. It would require power plants serving New Jersey and 12 other states to assure that they can provide electricity on demand, especially during heat waves and cold snaps. The impetus for the proposal stems largely from a run of frigid weather last winter when some generators failed to produce electricity, increasing the risk of power outages.
However, the proposal would raise energy production costs, with the increase passed on to consumers, by requiring plant operators to improve maintenance on backup generators and guarantee that they will have fuel to fire them up when needed. Fines for failure could skyrocket, further raising costs.
The plan was filed this month with federal regulators by PJM Interconnection, which runs a section of the national power grid from New Jersey to Illinois. It comes after rate hikes approved this year by New Jersey regulators to fund $1.2 billion worth of other projects aimed at improving the power distribution system in the northern and central areas of the state.