Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Will FERC charge slow the progress of PSEG's bailout bill?

PSEG nuclear power generating complex in Salem County, NJ
Federal agency contends alleged violations occurred when company was bidding into power auction to set prices consumers pay for electricity

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

A federal agency is alleging a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group made false and misleading statements in bidding into the nation’s largest energy market, a process that helps determine how much consumers pay for electricity.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s staff issued a preliminary notice of alleged violations by PSEG Energy Resources & Trade LLC, the company’s trading arm, over a nine-year period from early 2005 until March 2014.

The notice, issued late Thursday, comes at an inopportune time for PSEG, which is hoping to win approval this week from both houses of the Legislature of a much-debated bill that would allow its nuclear plants to gain $300 million a year in ratepayer subsidies.

Without those incentives, PSEG has threatened to close three plants in South Jersey, saying they will not be profitable in the near future, a contention opponents have argued the company has failed to demonstrate.

Opponents of the subsidies
The disclosure of the preliminary findings by the agency rippled the past weekend through a loose coalition of groups trying to derail the nuclear subsidies. They long have disputed PSEG’s assertion the plants will likely lose money when existing contracts expire in a couple of years. 

The alleged violations by the company cited by the commission should be reason for pause, critics said.

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