ASSEMBLY, No. 1971

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  NANCY J. PINKIN

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  HERB CONAWAY, JR.

District 7 (Burlington)

Assemblyman  ROBERT J. KARABINCHAK

District 18 (Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Benson and Zwicker

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Directs BPU to develop and implement electric school bus pilot program.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act establishing an electric school bus pilot program, supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes, and amending P.L.1999, c.23.

 

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

 

     1.    (New section)  a.  No later than six months after the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Board of Public Utilities, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, shall develop and implement a three-year “Electric School Bus Pilot Program” to determine the operational reliability and cost effectiveness of replacing diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses for daily transportation of students.

     b.    The Board of Public Utilities shall select for participation in the pilot program no less than one school district in each of the northern, central, and southern regions of the State. 

     c.     Under the pilot program, the Board of Public Utilities shall award grants to school districts selected to participate in the pilot program to purchase electric school buses and to purchase and install electric school bus charging infrastructure in coordination with school bus contractors and any State department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as necessary.  Monies from the societal benefits charge revenues collected by the Board of Public Utilities for the “Electric School Bus Pilot Program,” pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), shall be used to provide grants pursuant to this subsection, not to exceed $10,000,000 over the three-year period.

     d.    The school districts selected to participate in the pilot program shall submit reports periodically, as determined by the Board of Public Utilities, detailing the cost to operate the electric school buses and any reliability issues related to the operation of the electric school buses.  The Board of Public Utilities shall collect any additional information and data necessary to complete the report required to be submitted to the Governor and Legislature pursuant to subsection e. of this section.

     e.  The Board of Public Utilities shall submit an “Electric School Bus Pilot Program” report to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature no later than six months after the completion of the three-year pilot program.  The report shall include, but not be limited to:

     (1)   a description and comprehensive review of the pilot program, including but not limited to, an evaluation of the pilot program’s effectiveness, and a discussion of continuing the pilot program and expanding it to other school districts in the State;

     (2)   an analysis of the operational reliability and cost effectiveness of the use of electric school buses compared to diesel-powered school buses;

     (3)   an analysis of the cost to operate, maintain, and power electric school buses compared to diesel-powered school buses;

     (4)   an analysis of the potential environmental benefits of replacing diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses; and

     (5)   any additional information the board determines necessary to evaluate the future implementation of electric school buses and electric school bus charging infrastructure in the State.

     f.     The Board of Public Utilities, the Commissioner of Transportation, the Commissioner of Education, and the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     2.    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 (C.48:3-49 et al.) 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 (C.48:3-49 et al.), 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 (C.48:3-49 et al.); provided that the funding for such programs be no less than [50%] 50 percent of the total Statewide amount being collected in [public] electric and gas public utility rates for demand side management programs on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) 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 (C.48:3-49 et al.), and provided that [25%] 25 percent 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 public utility rates for demand side management programs on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), 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); and

     (6)  The costs of the “Electric School Bus Pilot Program,” of an amount not to exceed $10,000,000 for the purposes provided in section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill.

     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.)] (C.48:2-29.30 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 public 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.

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

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the submission of the “Electric School Bus Pilot Program” report required to be submitted pursuant to subsection e. of section 1 of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), in consultation with the Department of Transportation, Department of Education, and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, to develop and implement, no later than six months after the bill’s effective date, a three-year “Electric School Bus Pilot Program” (pilot program).  The purpose of the pilot program is to determine the operational reliability and cost effectiveness of replacing diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses for daily transportation of students.

      The bill requires the BPU to select at least three school districts for participation in the pilot program:  one from the northern region of the State; one from the central region of the State; and one from the southern region of the State.

      Under the bill, the BPU would award grants up to $10 million total from revenues of the societal benefits charge to school districts selected to participate in the pilot program to purchase electric school buses and to purchase and install electric school bus charging infrastructure in coordination with school bus contractors and any State department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as necessary.

      The bill requires the school districts selected to participate in the pilot program to submit periodic reports to the BPU detailing the cost to operate electric school buses and any reliability issues related to the operation of the buses.  Lastly, the bill requires the BPU to submit a report with certain information to the Governor and Legislature no later than six months after the completion of the pilot program.