§1 - C.48:3-60.3

 


P.L.2011, CHAPTER 216, approved January 17, 2012

Assembly, No. 2528 (Second Reprint)

 

 


An Act 2[concerning societal benefits charge revenues,]2 providing for a credit against the societal benefits charge, and 2[amending and]2 supplementing P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     2[1. Section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  a. Simultaneously with the starting date for the implementation of retail choice as determined by the board pursuant to subsection a. of section 5 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-53) and consistent with the provisions of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the board shall permit each electric public utility and gas public utility to recover some or all of the following costs through a societal benefits charge that shall be collected as a non-bypassable charge imposed on all electric public utility customers and gas public utility customers, as appropriate:

     (1)   The costs for the social programs for which rate recovery was approved by the board prior to April 30, 1997.  For the purpose of establishing initial unbundled rates pursuant to section 4 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-52), the societal benefits charge shall be set to recover the same level of social program costs as is being collected in the bundled rates of the electric public utility on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  The board may subsequently order, pursuant to its rules and regulations, an increase or decrease in the societal benefits charge to reflect changes in the costs to the utility of administering existing social programs.  Nothing in [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 shall be construed to abolish or change any social program required by statute or board order or rule or regulation to be provided by an electric public utility.  Any such social program shall continue to be provided by the utility until otherwise provided by law, unless the board determines that it is no longer appropriate for the electric public utility to provide the program, or the board chooses to modify the program;

     (2)   Nuclear plant decommissioning costs;

     (3)   The costs of demand side management programs that were approved by the board pursuant to its demand side management regulations prior to April 30, 1997.  For the purpose of establishing initial unbundled rates pursuant to section 4 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-52), the societal benefits charge shall be set to recover the same level of demand side management program costs as is being collected in the bundled rates of the electric public utility on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  Within four months of the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23, and every four years thereafter, the board shall initiate a proceeding and cause to be undertaken a comprehensive resource analysis of energy programs, and within eight months of initiating such proceeding and after notice, provision of the opportunity for public comment, and public hearing, the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall determine the appropriate level of funding for energy efficiency and Class I renewable energy programs that provide environmental benefits above and beyond those provided by standard offer or similar programs in effect as of the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23; provided that the funding for such programs be no less than 50% of the total Statewide amount being collected in public electric and gas utility rates for demand side management programs on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 for an initial period of four years from the issuance of the first comprehensive resource analysis following the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23, and provided that 25% of this amount shall be used to provide funding for Class I renewable energy projects in the State.  In each of the following fifth through eighth years, the Statewide funding for such programs shall be no less than 50 percent of the total Statewide amount being collected in public electric and gas utility rates for demand side management programs on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23, except that as additional funds are made available as a result of the expiration of past standard offer or similar commitments, the minimum amount of funding for  such programs shall increase by an additional amount equal to 50 percent of the additional funds made available, until the minimum amount of funding dedicated to such programs reaches $140,000,000 total.  After the eighth year the board shall make a determination as to the appropriate level of funding for these programs.  Such programs shall include a program to provide financial incentives for the installation of  Class I renewable energy projects in the State, and the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall determine the level and total amount of such incentives as well as the renewable technologies eligible for such incentives which shall include, at a minimum, photovoltaic, wind, and fuel cells. The board shall simultaneously determine, as a result of the comprehensive resource analysis, the programs to be funded by the societal benefits charge, the level of cost recovery and performance incentives for old and new programs and whether the recovery of demand side management programs' costs currently approved by the board may be reduced or extended over a longer period of time.  The board shall make these determinations taking into consideration existing market barriers and environmental benefits, with the objective of transforming markets, capturing lost opportunities, making energy services more affordable for low income customers and eliminating subsidies for programs that can be delivered in the marketplace without electric public utility and gas public utility customer funding;

     (4)   Manufactured gas plant remediation costs, which shall be determined initially in a manner consistent with mechanisms in the remediation adjustment clauses for the electric public utility and gas public utility adopted by the board; and

     (5)   The cost, of consumer education, as determined by the board, which shall be in an amount that, together with the consumer education surcharge imposed on electric power supplier license fees pursuant to subsection h. of section 29 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-78) and the consumer education surcharge imposed on gas supplier license fees pursuant to subsection g. of section 30 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-79), shall be sufficient to fund the consumer education program established pursuant to section 36 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-85).

     b.    There is established in the Board of Public Utilities a nonlapsing fund to be known as the "Universal Service Fund."  The board shall determine:  the level of funding and the appropriate administration of the fund; the purposes and programs to be funded with monies from the fund; which social programs shall be provided by an electric public utility as part of the provision of its regulated services which provide a public benefit; whether the funds appropriated to fund the "Lifeline Credit Program" established pursuant to P.L.1979, c.197 (C.48:2-29.15 et seq.), the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program" established pursuant to P.L.1981, c.210 (C.48:2-29.31 et seq.), the funds received pursuant to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. s. 8621 et seq., and funds collected by electric and natural gas utilities, as authorized by the board, to offset uncollectible electricity and natural gas bills should be deposited in the fund; and whether new charges should be imposed to fund new or expanded social programs.

     c.     (1) The board shall establish an “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Fund,” which fund shall consist of 1[an "Energy Assistance Account – Residential";]1 an “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Residential”; an “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Small Commercial”; and an "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account - Large Commercial and Industrial."  In establishing the fund and the accounts, the board shall follow any guidelines for the establishment of such fund and accounts as the State Treasurer, in consultation with the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury, may recommend to the board.  After June 30, 2010, all expenditures by the board to pay any of the costs or to support any of the programs described in paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section, whether those costs are incurred or those programs are administered directly by the board or by others reimbursed by the board, shall be made solely from the fund.  Expenditures funding the costs or programs under paragraph (3) of that subsection a. that benefit residential customers of electric public utilities and gas public utilities shall be made from the “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Residential”; expenditures funding the costs or programs under paragraph (3) of that subsection a. that benefit small commercial customers of electric public utilities and gas public utilities shall be made from the “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Small Commercial”; and expenditures funding the costs or programs under paragraph (3) of that subsection a. that benefit large commercial or industrial customers of electric public utilities and gas public utilities shall be made from the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account - Large Commercial and Industrial."

     (2)   On and after July 1, 2010, each electric public utility and each gas public utility shall include, with its remittance to the board of any payment of monies collected as a societal benefits charge under subsection a. of this section, a statement identifying the portion of the payment so remitted that is derived from charges imposed upon residential customers of the utility, the portion of the payment derived from charges imposed upon small commercial customers of the utility, and the portion of the payment derived from charges imposed upon large commercial and industrial customers of the utility.  The board shall adopt regulations, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), delineating for each type of utility the class of residential customers, the class of small commercial customers, and the class of large commercial and industrial customers, and prescribing uniform rules under which the utilities shall compute the amount of societal benefits charge paid by each class of customers for purposes of preparing the statement.

     (3)   The board shall, prior to the commencement of each State fiscal year, determine the amount of revenue from the societal benefits charge anticipated to be required during that State fiscal year to pay the costs and to support the programs described in paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section.  The total amount of such revenue deposited during that State fiscal year into the Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Fund shall not be less than the amount so determined.  After 1[such amount has been deposited into the “Energy Assistance Account – Residential”, the balance remaining from]1 the 1amount of funds determined by the board as sufficient to fund the programs set forth in subsection b. of this section has been deposited into the Universal Services Fund, the1  total amount deposited into the Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Fund pursuant to this paragraph shall be deposited during the State fiscal year in the following accounts: (a) there shall be deposited into the “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Residential” an amount bearing the same proportion to that balance as the proportion between the amount of revenue from the societal benefits charge, remitted to the board in the preceding State fiscal year, that was identified to the board as having been collected from residential customers and the total amount of such revenue so remitted in that preceding State fiscal year; (b) there shall be deposited into the “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Small Commercial" an amount bearing the same proportion to that balance as the proportion between the amount of revenue from the societal benefits charge, remitted to the board in the preceding State fiscal year, that was identified to the board as having been collected from small commercial customers and the total amount of such revenue so remitted in that preceding State fiscal year; and (c) there shall be deposited into the “Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Large Commercial and Industrial” an amount bearing the same proportion to that balance as the proportion between the amount of revenue from the societal benefits charge, remitted to the board in the preceding State fiscal year, that was identified to the board as having been collected from large commercial and industrial customers and the total amount of such revenue so remitted in that preceding State fiscal year.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.23, s.12)]2

 

     2[2. (New section)  a.  For the purpose of determining, under paragraph (3) of subsection c. of section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), for the State fiscal year commencing July 1, 2010, the amount of revenue from the societal benefits charge that is to be deposited during that fiscal year into the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Residential"; the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Small Commercial"; and the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Large Commercial and Industrial," the board shall estimate the proportion of the total revenue from that charge, remitted to the board in the fiscal year commencing July 1, 2009, that was collected from residential, from small commercial and from large commercial and industrial customers, respectively.

     b.    For the purpose of determining, under paragraph (3) of subsection c. of section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), for the State fiscal year commencing July 1, 2011, the amount of revenue from the societal benefits charge that is to be deposited during that fiscal year into the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Residential"; the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Small Commercial"; and the "Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Renewable Energy Programs Account – Large Commercial and Industrial," the board shall, if necessary, estimate the proportion of the total revenue from that charge, remitted to the board in the fiscal year commencing July 1, 2010, that was collected from residential, from small commercial and from large commercial and industrial customers, respectively.]2

 

     2[3.  (New section)] 1.2  a.  On and after January 1 next following the 2date of2 enactment of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), a 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2 shall be allowed a credit against the societal benefits charge imposed pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), and collected as a non-bypassable charge by the electric public utility or gas public utility, as appropriate, providing service to the 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2.

     b.    The amount of the credit authorized pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall be equal to 2one-half of2 that portion of the costs incurred by the 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2 during the preceding calendar year for the purchase and installation of products or services that are intended for energy efficiency 2[or renewable energy]2 purposes, that would be eligible for incentives under programs that the board shall have determined to fund by the societal benefits charge pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection a. of section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60).

     c.     The amount of the credit to be allowed under this section in any calendar year against the societal benefits charge for each 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2 that is subject to such charge pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) shall be determined by the board.

     d.    The maximum amount of the credit to be applied under this section against the societal benefits charge imposed pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) shall not exceed 100 percent of the 2[corporation’s] commercial or industrial ratepayer's2 liability for such charge that would otherwise be due in each calendar year.

     e.     The amount of the credit against the societal benefits charge otherwise allowable under this section which cannot be applied for the calendar year due to the limitations of 2[subsection b. and subsection] subsections b. and2 d. of this section may be carried over, if necessary, to a maximum of 2[ten] 102 calendar years immediately following the initial year in which the credit is first applied to a 2[corporation’s] commercial or industrial ratepayer's2 liability for societal benefits charges.

     f.     The electric 2public utility2 or gas public utility providing service to a 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2 shall disclose in a written notice to the 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2, upon request from the 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2, the amount of societal benefits charges collected by the utility from the 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2 pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) for each calendar year specified in the request from the 2[corporation] commercial or industrial ratepayer2.

 

     2[4.] 2. 2    This act shall take effect immediately 2[, and sections 1 and 2 shall be applicable for State fiscal years commencing on or after July 1, 2010]2.

 

 

                                

 

     Establishes credit for commercial or industrial ratepayers against societal benefits charge for costs of certain products or services.