A controversial bill that could force New Jersey ratepayers to bail out the state’s nuclear power plants hit a snag on Monday as the Senate shelved a vote on the legislation.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said lawmakers are still making adjustments to the legislation, which has already gone under several revisions. Sweeney said the Senate could vote on the bill next month.
“It’s a big bill. It’s a complicated bill. And we’re going to continue to press forward,” Sweeney said. “Like everything else, we’re adjusting things and look forward to getting it passed.”
In its current form, the bill (S877) would effectively impose a surcharge on ratepayers to prop up nuclear power plants owned by PSEG—the state’s largest energy company—if a state board determines the plants need financial assistance. A typical household could see energy bills rise $31 to $41 per year to cover the cost of the estimated $300 million subsidy, officials have said.
The nuclear bailout bill has been a hotly debated issue since December, when legislation was first introduced and then shelved during the waning days of the lame duck legislature.
Committee hearings on the bill have surpassed three hours, and the legislation has since been amended to include clean energy initiatives promoting solar power and offshore wind. But those additions haven’t made the bill more palatable for the environmental groups that have opposed the potential nuclear subsidy.
“We’re glad the bill was held because, in its current form, it undermines the Garden State’s clean energy future and the good jobs that go with it,” Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.
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