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Salem and Hope Creak nuclear reactors.

Bipartisan coalition urges BPU against renewing $300 million nuclear subsidy

Nuclear plants don’t need public funds, coalition says

By Nikita Biryukov, April 26 2021 10:59 am

A swath of conservative and liberal groups urged the Board of Public Utilities not to renew $300 million in annual subsidies, calling the subsidies unneeded and costly for consumers.

“The focus on relief coming out of this pandemic should be centered on helping those who need it most,” Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey Executive Director Renee Koubiadis said. “Many people are afraid of being evicted from their homes because they have lost jobs and haven’t been able to afford rent and utilities. Instead of giving a huge giveaway to profitable nuclear power companies, we should be helping people afford to stay in their homes.”

The BPU initially approved the subsidy in 2019. They faced a court challenge, but the board’s decision was upheld by an appellate panel despite claims that the three nuclear plants buoyed by the public funds were already profitable.

PSEG and Exelon Generation LLC, which co-owns two of the nuclear plants, two years ago claimed they would have to close the plants absent public assistance.

But opposition to the subsidies appears to have grown over the past two years.

The NJ Ratepayers United Coalition includes groups from across the political spectrum. New Jersey Citizen Action and the state branch of Americans for Prosperity are united against them, along with the state AARP, the Building Owners and Managers Association of New Jersey, and Main Street Alliance, among several others.

Utility officials are expected to rule on the subsidy at a meeting on Tuesday, having already held evidentiary hearings earlier in the year.

“Instead of forcing New Jersey ratepayers to continue absorbing generator costs in their deregulated electricity marketplace, we encourage the state to leverage its influence on plant operators to figure out how to remain competitive in their markets,” said Building Owners and Managers Association New Jersey Executive Patricia Hanley.

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