TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria which would allow public entities to collectively bargain for energy services with the State in certain circumstances was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 37-0.
“Collective negotiations are very effective in leveraging better deals for the negotiators, but when municipalities, counties, and other public entities can say they have the State in their corner, that’s a whole new level,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson, Vice Chair of the Senate Economic Growth Committee. “This bill would give local governments access to New Jersey’s vast pool of experience and resources in negotiating energy prices, and would most likely save taxpayers’ dollars for the residents served by those governments.”
The bill, S-2346, would permit counties, municipalities and school districts, on a volunteer basis, to negotiate for energy services with the State, such as electric generation, natural gas and some forms of alternative energy, to take advantage of the State’s collective purchasing power for better deals in contracts. Senator Doria noted that other states have allowed local governments to aggregate their energy service negotiations with the states, and in Rhode Island, 32 municipalities aggregated to save over $6 million in electricity costs.
“These sorts of agreements have a history of savings, and would work well in New Jersey,” said Senator Doria. “Given our large pool of municipalities, and New Jersey’s success in past collective negotiations, I have every reason to believe that the State’s municipalities will fare exceptionally well at the negotiating table with the State of New Jersey backing up their agreements. And the savings achieved through such negotiation could be passed off to taxpayers who currently foot the bill for municipal, county and school energy costs.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.