N.J. delays action on nuclear subsidy measure

New Jersey lawmakers will not consider legislation to subsidize the state's nuclear-power plants until Feb. 15. A hearing set for Monday was postponed for further work on the measure. (AP file photo)

New Jersey lawmakers will not consider legislation to subsidize the state's nuclear-power plants until Feb. 15. A hearing set for Monday was postponed for further work on the measure. (AP file photo)

New Jersey lawmakers are delaying action on a measure that calls for subsidies to Public Service Enterprise Group to keep nuclear plants open in Salem County.

Additions to the bill are making it much more expensive for consumers, said Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club director. He estimated it could increase costs for ratepayers by more than $4 billion over 10 years.

“Three billion plus for the nukes plus a billion for very expensive solar and some other stuff. But some of it is openended,” he said Monday. “So, what we’re doing in this bill is we’re giving a blank check to PSE&G paid for by the ratepayers.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney said lawmakers are still working out the details of the bill with Gov. Phil Murphy’s office. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said it will be ready for the Senate Budget Committee to act on next week.

A Monday hearing was set to come after the Chris Christie-era bail-out legislation was changed last month to reflect Murphy’s requests for environmental measures.

Christie, the Republican former governor, rejected the prospect of such measures, but Murphy, a Democrat, said he wants them included.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press showed PSEG, the state’s biggest utility and the operator of two nuclear plants, worked with Christie to shield financial information from the public in the proposal.

That language is still included. The utility says the information is proprietary.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.