Home > Uncategorized > Fact Check Christie Claims on Energy

Fact Check Christie Claims on Energy

Dear Star Ledger PolitiFact:

The Star Ledger’s State House reporter was on NJN Reporters Roundtable last night and discussed Governor Christie’s proposed changes to the Energy Master Plan and withdrawal from the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI). (discussion starts about the 11 minute mark).

We just learned of your service and ask that you tee this issue up for some fact checking!

They showed a clip of the Gov saying that the 30% renewable energy goal was “never achievable” and “the previous EMP laid out no realistic path to get there” (to aid your fact checking research, here is the prior 30% goal and how to get there.).

Yesterday, federal officials released bids to develop 12,500 megawatts of off shore wind – so that needs to inform your economic feasibility assessment. (DEP spun a press release, taking credit for the federal bids, a transparent attempt to divert attention away from Christie’s renewable energy rollback).

The Star Ledger reporter chimed in and said there seemed to be a shift – “not in this administration, but in government, about what the goal is”.

We say that is FALSE on multiple grounds – and rely on this evidence.

The Ledger reporter then parroted the Gov.’s claim that he merely was seeking to lower electric rates to promote economic development.

She then said that “some say” that RGGI “costs a lot” and some say “it doesn’t cost anything”.  (Again this was false. First of all, no one says that RGGI doesn’t cost “anything”. Here is BPU breakdown of electic rates to aid your fact check).

She also echoed the Gov.’s claims that high electric rates drive companies out of NJ and discourage new economic development in NJ, as companies locate in other lower electric rate states (why not just put Drewniak on the show and eliminate the middle man?)

Five different fact claims need to be tested:

1) BPU publishes the components of electric bills so it is easy to document that Steve Lonegan, political ads by Americans for Prosperity, and Gov. Christie are lying about the alleged high costs of RGGI.

RGGI cost 24 cents per month (assuming a $100/month electric bill).

Describing this as “some say” is really bad journalism – some are lying and others are using facts.

2) The distribution of costs and benefits is being distorted by claiming that costs are reduced for everybody.

Low income people and homeowners lose programs that provide energy audits, insulation, efficient hot water heaters, and rooftop solar (and the thousands of jobs that do this work will be lost),  while profitable major corporations will get subsidies instead.

On electric costs, distributionally, under Christie policy, my costs go down by 12 cents per month, while major corporations save thousands or millions of dollars.


3) The critical difference between electric rates and bills is being ignored.

Example for the mathematically challenged: a 15% higher electric rate with a 25% lower use results in a LOWER BILL (and lower pollution). We all pay into a fund that helps reduce energy use – thus we SAVE MONEY. And this doesn’t count reduced infrastructure costs and lower pollution and health costs.

To aid your fact check, the BPU published data is here.

Why is this so hard to communicate?

4) I know of no credible independent study that says NJ’s electric rates cause job loss, discourage location, or lower economic development. Please ask Gov. to document those claims.

5) Business lobbyists have repeatedely falsely claimed that energy “taxes” and surcharges (like SBC and RGGI) increase electric rates by 25% – but the actual figure is closer to 15% (see above BPU breakdown). Please call out NJBIA and Chamber of Commerce lobbyists on this.


A Constant Critic

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.