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The interior of an industrial boiler room. (Photo: Shutterstock).

Business, labor groups want legislature to review state boiler replacement plan

By David Wildstein, September 12 2022 2:36 pm

A coalition of 31 business and labor groups want the New Jersey Legislature to review regulations approved by the Murphy administration that could force public schools to spend millions  to convert large gas boilers to electricity.

“These mandates will dramatically increase costs for New Jersey residents and businesses at a time when the Legislature is focused on affordability,” the organizations said.  “the electrification of the building sector is not only expensive but is moving forward without Legislative authorization”

The groups, which include the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Operating Engineers Local 825 and Boilermakers and Pipe Trades unions, suggest that schools and apartment buildings to replace gas boilers with electric could result in higher property taxes and rents.

“For a building replacing a 1.5 MMBTU natural gas boiler with an electric boiler it will need a dedicated, autonomous 549kw electric service,” the coalition said.  “A complete retrofit of the building, including demolition of the existing boiler, dramatically increased ampacity, and the installation of a new dedicated 480V, 1200 amp switchgear and transformers will cost the building owner approximately $2 million.”

New Jersey has about 1,500 schools that still use gas boilers, along with roughly 1,500 apartment buildings, 1,200 commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities and nearly 200 government buildings.  According to the coalition, electricity will cost 4-5 times more than gas.

The new rules go into effect in December, but State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington) have sponsored legislation to slow the process down until a full cost analysis is completed.

“We would ask that the Legislature move this legislation as soon as possible to address the concerns referenced above, or engage on this issue through alternative mean,” the groups said.

The coalition includes the: Air Conditioning Contractors of New Jersey; Alliance of Auto Service Providers/NJ; Associated Builders and Contractors’ NJ Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey; Chemistry Council of New Jersey; Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey; Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC 825); Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 28; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825; Meadowlands Chamber’ Mid-Atlantic Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association; NAIOP; NJ National Federation of Independent Businesses; NJ New Jersey Apartment Association; New Jersey Builders Association; New Jersey Business and Industry Association; New Jersey Chamber of Commerce; New Jersey Concrete and Aggregate Association’ New Jersey Jewish Business Alliance; New Jersey Pipe Trades Local 9, Local 24, Local 274, Local 322, Local 475, Local 692, Local 696 and Local 855; New Jersey State League of Master Plumbers; Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors; NJ Utility & Transportation Contractors Association/NJ.


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