It costs less to reduce energy demand through energy efficiency than it does to meet excessive demand with any source of electricity, whether fossil fuels or renewables. At the same time, energy efficiency also saves U.S. consumers approximately $90 billion a year by helping them cut their energy bills. If New Jersey could reduce its statewide energy consumption by just 2 percent, we believe it would eliminate 1 million tons of carbon emissions and put $130 million back in the pockets of consumers.
But while New Jersey has set ambitious public goals for renewable energy, the state has been less aggressive in the area of energy efficiency – and it shows. On the latest national energy efficiency scorecard, New Jersey ranks No. 23, two places lower than we were in 2015. In actual incremental energy savings, shown in the accompanying chart, we rank even lower: No. 30.
In states that rank higher than New Jersey, policymakers have embraced the role of the utility in delivering universal access to energy efficiency, and adjusted their regulations to encourage the spread of energy efficiency.
States that have specifically directed utility companies to drive energy efficiency are achieving net-energy savings of 2 percent.
In states where they have specifically directed utility companies to drive energy efficiency, they’re achieving net energy savings of 2 percent. New Jersey’s savings, meanwhile, are estimated at less than 0.5 percent. States such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island are saving more than seven times as much as New Jersey.
We believe energy efficiency must be the single most important mission for utilities in the future.
At PSEG, we offer a number of successful energy efficiency programs directed at hospitals, apartment buildings and multifamily housing, as well as buildings that house nonprofits, small businesses and government agencies.
By offering energy audits and financing for such things as boilers, HVAC and lighting systems, our energy efficiency programs have saved these institutions millions of dollars in annual energy costs.
And we want to do more – including a significant proposal to extend our energy efficiency programs to every household and business customer we serve.