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Trenton - Today, NJPIRG along with Environment New Jersey, New Jersey Sustainable Business Council, UU Faith Action NJ Environmental Justice Task Force, Isles, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, New Jersey Work Environment Council, and Jersey Renews submitted comments to the NJ Board of Public Utilities’ Office of Clean Energy on their FY21 budget proposal. The commenters contextualized the impact that COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession has had on New Jersey’s financial health, and explained the importance of clean energy programs in the state’s recovery. Programs run by the Office of Clean Energy reduce the energy burden and create long term savings for consumers and businesses.
The commenters focused specifically on energy efficiency programs. The commenters praised the state for allocating more than $2 million for a new Whole Home approach pilot program. The commenters raised strong concerns with the rest of the proposed budget, specifically the cuts to other energy efficiency programs, which add up to a total of $78 million between FY20 and FY21.
The reduced funding for the NJBPU Office of Clean Energy budget is a result of an additional raid of $40 million in Governor Murphy’s proposed FY21 budget from the Office of Clean Energy to the General Fund. The Legislature is expected to finalize and vote on the FY21 budget within the next week.
Emma Horst-Martz, Advocate for NJPIRG, issued this statement:
“Now is the time for New Jersey to invest in energy efficiency to reduce the energy burden on our communities, create long term savings for consumers and businesses, and move us closer to our state clean energy goals. We thank the NJBPU Office of Clean Energy for creating the Whole Home approach pilot program and the Governor for allocating more than $2 million to fund the program. This is a critical step toward making homes healthy, safe, and ready for efficiency improvements.”
“Unfortunately, cuts to energy efficiency programs will harm communities and businesses in a time of great need. Many New Jerseyans are struggling to pay their bills due to COVID-19, and energy efficiency programs would help reduce their electricity costs and make their homes more liveable during the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. Without this funding, residents and businesses across the state will not be able to access programs to assist with energy efficiency improvements. We urge the Murphy Administration in the FY22 budget to work to eliminate raids to the Clean Energy Fund so we can fully fund the clean energy priorities the program delivers.”
The New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) is a statewide citizen-based public interest advocacy organization representing more than 20,000 dues-paying members. We speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good. www.njpirg.org @NJPIRG
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