Home > Uncategorized > NJ Gov. Murphy’s Electric Vehicle Legislation Provides NO NEW MONEY AND WILL CAUSE NO RATE INCREASES – It Diverts Existing Climate and Low Income Energy Funds To Provide Rebates To Purchase New Tesla’s

NJ Gov. Murphy’s Electric Vehicle Legislation Provides NO NEW MONEY AND WILL CAUSE NO RATE INCREASES – It Diverts Existing Climate and Low Income Energy Funds To Provide Rebates To Purchase New Tesla’s

Nuclear Bailout Got New Money That Increased Electric Bills, But Not EV’s

NJ Spotlight Again Makes Huge Fact Error In Reporting

I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few, and leave millions of God’s children smothering in an airtight cage of  poverty in the midst of an affluent society. ~~~  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  1967 – quoted here

I previously wrote about why I think the electric vehicle legislation that Gov. Murphy will sign today is flawed, see:

Aside from the lame duck and process issues, the law is deeply regressive and very likely – just like the current NJ “California Car” law and complex credit scheme will fail to meet it’s goals due to a lack of adequate funding, the absence of enforceable mandates, and no enforcement provisions and/or sanctions for failure to meet the aspirational goals for the number of EV’s on the road. 

(and the bill does nothing to reduce the proliferation of internal combustion engines, or the huge growth in vehicle miles traveled, or otherwise guarantee reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. It is likely that more economic growth and sprawling land development (and redevelopment) that Gov. Murphy is pushing and his DEP is permitting will stimulate more truck & car travel, leading to more cars & trucks on the road, traveling more miles, and emitting more GHG’s that will more than offset the avoided growth in GHG emissions (not emissions reductions) from the small fleet of EV’s, leading to a continuing increases in GHG from the transportation sector, even if the numerical EV goals of the law are met, which is unlikely. Similarly, there are no mandates that an EV displace an internal combustion engine. There are no mandates addressing land use and transportation, or for reducing trips and VMT, or enhancing and expanding public transportation (other than a slow conversion of the NJ Transit bus fleet.) For every EV sold, 3 or more internal combustion vehicle should be retired. EV charging stations should be mandated. But there are no plans for any of these necessary actions even on the table. The EV program under this bill won’t make a dent in GHG emissions from the transportation sector, which will continue to grow. Yet the law is being wildly praised by all the usual sycophants.).

We’re not gonna slow the climate catastrophe and transition to a zero carbon economy on aspirational goals, voluntary measures, market based solutions, corporate subsidies, “incentives”, and diversions of existing funding – which is what this EV bill epitomizes.

(and just like the recent Open Space scam – which created no new funds but instead diverted existing DEP clean water, State Parks, and toxic site cleanup money – the EV law diverts existing climate (RGGI) and low income energy assistance money (SBC)).

So for today, I just want to make one important point and correct another egregiously misleading story and major fact error about the EV law that was reported in today’s NJ Spotlight story.

As I have written, NJ Spotlight is obsessed with the so called high costs of and subsidies to renewable energy, and their alleged impact on ratepayers. Business sources are repeatedly quoted criticizing these alleged high costs. However, Spotlight rarely – if ever – publishes the benefits and subsidies to fossil, or the actual costs on individual ratepayers. That’s because, as I’ve noted, these costs are often paltry, while the climate catastrophe costs are so huge as to be incalculable (but the social costs of carbon have been quantified and estimated).

For example, the RGGI program costs a typical residential customer something like 50 cents per month  – while RGGI and solar cost about $1.05/month, according to the Christie Energy Master Plan.

Similarly, in a recent story about the Atlantic City Electric proposed EV program, after expressing major concerns about “a significant issue given the cost customers will have to absorb in shifting to a clean-energy economy”, Spotlight reported the actual cost:

Atlantic City Electric said the cost of the program, if approved by the BPU, will be paid by a delivery charge on customers bills — roughly 54 cents a month for the typical customer.

Do you think 54 cents per month is a “significant issue”?  (compared to other monthly expenses and the costs of climate catastrophe).

Repeating that misleading reporting about costs, today Spotlight falsely claims that the EV program will be funded by new revenues and ratepayers will see an increase in electric bills:

For ratepayers, the legislation will add another $300 million onto their monthly bills over the next decade to provide generous rebates of up to $5,000 to consumers who choose to purchase electric vehicles.

That is blatantly factually false and totally misleading.

In fact, the law provides no new money and appropriates no new money.

Instead it diverts existing money from existing revenues to fund the $300 million – 10 year rebate program, funds that are collected under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and via the Societal Benefits Charge (SBC).

The EV law includes provisions that anticipate that there could be future new revenues from 2 sources: legislative appropriations and a new special surcharge on electric bills established by BPU to fund the EV charging infrastructure.

But that money is NOT – repeat NOT – established by the law nor mandated by the law. There is no legislative appropriation, the entire $300 million EV rebate program is paid for via diversions of existing funds, and BPU “may” but is not required to increase rates in the future to pay for the charging infrastructure.

The Office of Legislative Services’ Fiscal Note on the bill confirms those claims:

  • The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) finds that the bill could increase State expenditures and revenues by indeterminate amounts. This conclusion is rooted in a lack of information concerning future decisions of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) concerning the electric vehicle incentive program and the in-home electric vehicle charging equipment incentive program, and whether deposits into the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Incentive Fund (fund) from the Societal Benefits Charge (SBC) to support those programs will result in higher SBC revenues and expenditures as opposed to reallocation of current revenues from existing programs.

Legislation establishing “indeterminate revenues” is not a serious policy and certainly is not the way to achieve billion dollar investments required to make the transition to a zero carbon economy.

So let’s break this down further.

NJ Spotlight’s claim that the program will be funded at a level of $300 million over a decade is correct.

But, Spotlight fails to call that expenditure an infrastructure investment – which is misleading – and worse, goes on to falsely claim that it is “another” new charge paid by ratepayers.

Let’s be clear: Section 14 of the law provides:

b. The board shall implement the rebate program until June 30th of the 10th year after the rebate program begins, or after $300,000,000 in rebate disbursements have been paid from the fund, whichever occurs first.

But the source of funds for that $300 millions is NOT new revenue. As the OLS Fiscal Note states:

The bill establishes a special, nonlapsing fund in the BPU to be known as the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Incentive Fund. The bill requires the BPU to deposit into the fund, each year, $30 million of moneys received from the societal benefits charge established pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), moneys made available to the BPU pursuant to the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-45 et seq.), and moneys available from other funding sources, as determined by the BPU, to make disbursements under the light duty plug-in electric vehicle incentive program.

According to OLS, BPU is required to allocate $30 million/year from RGGI and SBC funds. That $30 million/year diversion accounts for 100% of the $300 million funding for the rebate program. The rebate program is fully paid for. From existing RGGI and SBC money. No new money. No rate increases to pay for it. NJ Spotlight is full of crap.

In contrast to this mandate to divert exiting money, But BPU is merely authorized – but not required – to create additional new funding sources to pay for other EV incentives, like home and roadway and other charging stations.

The text of the law makes that very clear. Section 16 of the law established 3 sources of revenues:

16. (New section) a. There is established in the Department of the Treasury a special, nonlapsing fund to be known as the “Plug-in Electric Vehicle Rebate Fund,” also referred to as “the fund.” The fund shall be administered by the State Treasurer and shall be credited with:

(1) moneys deposited by the Board of Public Utilities pursuant to this subsection for the purposes of the fund;

(2) moneys as are appropriated by the Legislature; and

(2) (sic) any return on investment of moneys deposited in the fund.

The board may deposit into the fund moneys received from the societal benefits charge established pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), moneys made available to the board pursuant to the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-45 et seq.), and moneys available from other funding sources as determined by the board.

The RGGI and SBC money is earmarked for, among other things, low income energy assistance and other programs that are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So, Gov. Murphy is robbing Peter to pay Paul – taking money out of one pot of funds designed to reduce greenhouse gs emissions and diverting it to another pot of money designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But even worse, robbing Peter in Newark is taking money from low income energy assistance programs, while paying Paul in Tewksbury to buy a new Tesla.

In contrast, the nuclear bailout benefitted from new ratepayer money that increased electric bills, and merely to guarantee PSE&G’s corporate profits

Diversion of existing funds is NOT how were are going to finance the multi-billion dollar investments required to transform to a zero carbon economy.

And we can’t finance the program on the backs of poor and working class people.

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