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Sweeney Bill Would Upgrade Water & Ventilation Systems

Trenton – Legislation introduced today by Senate President Steve Sweeney would help schools and small businesses in New Jersey upgrade their water and ventilation systems to better protect the health of students, educators, customers and workers.

The bill would establish the School & Small Business Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program within the Board of Public Utilities to provide the resources to ensure that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in schools and small businesses are upgraded to improve the health and safety of the environment. The program will also fund improvements to old, inefficient plumbing fixtures that supply water to the facilities.

“The importance of clean air and clean water takes on greater importance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We have to do all we can to protect the health and safety of students and educators, as well as the customers and employees of small businesses. They need to have confidence that they are breathing air and using water that is clean and safe.”

The legislation would create two separate sub-programs to administer the water system improvements and ventilation upgrades. It would allocate 25 percent of the funding for water systems and 75 percent for ventilation/HVAC systems.

The programs would be funded by the Societal Benefits Charge, an existing surcharge on the energy bills of New Jersey’s seven investor-owned electric public utilities and gas public utilities. The SBC funding supports efforts to finance clean energy programs and to help low-income families pay their utility bills. The BPU determines the amount that is collected for the SBC.