Today’s smartphones would baffle Alexander Graham Bell, while today’s utility systems would look familiar to Thomas Edison. Our electric infrastructure has hardly changed since Edison’s influence at the start of the 20th century. That’s about to change. The way people use electricity and gas is being transformed thanks to technological innovations that are similar to ones that we have seen in other industries.
PSE&G intends to lead that transformation through the Clean Energy Future proposal, helping our customers consume less energy, and ensure that the energy they use is cleaner and more reliable. The proposal includes historic commitments to energy efficiency, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, energy storage, and smart meter technology that will help PSE&G improve reliability and resiliency. It will help achieve Gov. Murphy’s goal of turning New Jersey into a clean energy leader.
The Clean Energy Future initiative represents a significant update of our business model to meet the changing needs of our customers and society. We want to shift focus and make it our business to sell less electricity and natural gas. That’s a break from the past that will reset our priorities – shifting from the 20th-century model in which utilities sought to sell as much electricity as possible, to a new approach in which one of our mandates is instead to help customers use less and, by doing so, help them save on their utility bills and reduce environmental impacts.
The proposal builds on PSE&G’s momentum to modernize its utility infrastructure. It will save participating customers billions of dollars on their energy bills, reduce emissions, create thousands of jobs and generate a multibillion-dollar impact on the local economy during the next 20 years.
The most significant segment of the proposal is a six-year program that will provide universal access to energy efficiency. The program is groundbreaking in that it would give customers opportunities to cut their energy use and utility bills, and produce meaningful improvements in air quality and public health, while reducing the state’s carbon footprint. It would reduce carbon emissions by 24 million tons over the lifetime of the program.
Energy efficiency allows customers to enjoy the same level of comfort and convenience while using less power. Energy efficiency opportunities include upgrading to appliances that use less power, installing more economical light bulbs, reducing the need for air conditioning, and changing behavior to use less power and create greater energy savings.
Our energy efficiency program efforts would include 22 programs tailored for every type of customer we serve, from residential customers, including those with limited income, to businesses, large and small, government facilities, hospitals and nonprofits.
Few people realize that energy efficiency can match the clean energy benefits of solar and wind, but at a fraction of the cost to consumers. In fact, energy efficiency costs less than any source of electricity. That’s why it’s at the center of both PSE&G’s and New Jersey’s clean energy vision.
Utilities like PSE&G are best-suited to ensure that the benefits of energy efficiency are available to the greatest number of customers, not just those who can most easily afford it. This universal access to energy efficiency is critical to achieving the environmental goals that are so important to Gov. Murphy and New Jersey businesses and residents. It also will help to reshape the energy sector by changing the relationship between utilities and their customers and providing dramatic emissions reductions to address climate change.
Energy efficiency – combined with electric vehicle charging, energy storage and smart meters – represents new thinking about energy and a leap forward toward a better New Jersey. We believe our Clean Energy Future proposal is the type of innovative thinking that Thomas Edison would embrace.