N.J. considers plan for discount energy purchases

A measure in the New Jersey Legislature would help towns save money by buying energy in bulk.

The bill sponsored by Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula would authorize three or more towns to establish a shared services energy company that could contract to purchase electricity at wholesale rates.

“There are some provisions in the current laws that inhibit them from making use of the shared services. The benefit … even if it is a few cents per kilowatt, I think that is going to be helpful to the residents of those towns,” said Chivukula Friday.

Jim Jablonski, the executive director of the Public Power Association of New Jersey, said the measure would “give us the single point of contact to the market which will create efficiencies, faster action, better ability to take advantage of price.”

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“Right now we cannot really do that as a group because existing statutes require that we be in the same county,” he said.

Thirty-seven other states already allow similar cooperatives. The legislation has been approved by the Assembly’s Utilities committee and awaits action in the Senate.

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