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Smith Bill to Establish Board of Public Utilities Building Electrification and Decarbonization Program Advances

TRENTON – The Senate Environment and Energy Committee advanced legislation sponsored by its Chair, Senator Bob Smith, which would direct the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to establish a beneficial building electrification and decarbonization program and require electric public utilities to prepare and implement beneficial building electrification plans.

The bill would define “beneficial electrification” as a change in equipment from a nonelectric type to an efficient electric type for any building end use, including water heating, space heating, industrial process, or transportation, provided that the change reduces cost from a societal perspective, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, or promotes the increased use of the electric grid in off-peak hours.

“Buildings account for almost a quarter of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “This bill will help the State transition to renewable energy sources, such as high-efficiency electric appliances and systems, by providing incentives to building owners. With its passage, we are ever closer to reaching our goal of total clean energy by 2050.”

The bill, S-249, would also require each electric public utility to prepare a multi-year beneficial electrification and decarbonization plan to achieve the targets established by the BPU. Such a plan may meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by converting fossil fuel-based space and water heating systems, replacing appliances and industrial equipment with high-efficiency electric versions, or marketing transformation programs aimed at educating and training contractors to use high-efficiency appliances and equipment.

The bill was advanced in a 3-2 vote.