New Jersey Natural Gas Receives Approval for Its Largest Program

Source: 3/4/2021, Location: North America

New Jersey Resources announced its principal subsidiary New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to significantly expand its energy-efficiency offerings available through The SAVEGREEN Project® (SAVEGREEN). The program will further its commitment to sustainability and emissions reduction by helping customers lower their energy usage, save money and reduce their carbon footprint. NJNG is authorized to invest $259 million over the three-year program to provide solutions to residential, multi-family and commercial customers to help make energy efficiency affordable.

“NJNG continues to take action on our commitment to sustainability with the largest energy-efficiency program in our company’s history – building on our proven record of voluntary emissions reduction, and investing to build the clean energy future,” said Steve Westhoven, President and CEO of New Jersey Resources. “This significant expansion of our energy-efficiency efforts will allow us to provide even more customers with powerful tools and resources to save energy, lower their bills and reduce emissions for the benefit of the environment.”

The investment consists of approximately $127 million of direct investment, $109 million in financing options and $23 million in operation and maintenance expenses. The initial annual increase for the typical residential heating customer using 1,000 therms per year is estimated to be $21.30 or 1.9% for the first year of the program.

The program positions NJNG to meet or exceed its annual energy-efficiency reduction targets set by the New Jersey Clean Energy Act. If fully subscribed, the program will help NJNG customers save more than 125 million therms of natural gas over the [three-year] program's lifetime. This equates to preventing the release of 663,102 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – the same as removing 142,886 cars from New Jersey roadways each year.

Beginning July 1, 2021, NJNG will roll out energy-efficiency programs under SAVEGREEN that include enhanced features for low- to moderate-income customers and a broad range of programs to meet the diverse needs of the commercial and industrial sectors, including restaurants, small offices, convenience stores and other independent businesses. In addition, the program reflects new legislative provisions that shift administration of some programs from the state-run New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ to the utilities and requires that all New Jersey utilities collaborate to provide core offerings that are consistent throughout the state. This requires a new and innovative approach for NJNG to work directly with the electric utilities, Atlantic City Electric and Jersey Central Power & Light, whose service territories overlap with those of NJNG.

SAVEGREEN’s core programs will include:

- Rebates and incentives, including a 0% on-bill repayment program, for qualifying equipment replacement and home energy improvements
- Rebates and incentives for the installation of energy-efficient appliances, as well as the continuation of NJNG’s discounted online marketplace

No-cost, energy-efficiency kits to income-eligible households as a gateway to other energy-efficiency and conservation programs The program also puts energy efficiency in reach for low- and moderate-income customers by providing opportunities to help reduce their energy bills. In addition to special incentives and longer payment terms to help make energy-efficiency upgrades affordable, the program will offer: lower-cost measures that can provide immediate savings to renters and homeowners; a no-cost energy checkup; distribution of energy-efficiency kits in collaboration with local foodbanks and community organizations and a no-cost, moderate-income weatherization program. NJNG and other New Jersey utilities also are exploring ways to streamline the screening process to make it easier for eligible low- and moderate-income customers to participate.

- Customer engagement and education, energy assessments, installation of standard energy-saving measures, retrofit projects, engineered solutions as well as prescriptive and emergency equipment replacement
- Access to an on-bill repayment program for the above measures, including extended repayment terms, for low- and moderate-income and affordable housing properties
- With multiple program opportunities and paths to energy efficiency, NJNG will work collaboratively with multi-family dwellings to conduct a structured energy assessment of the premises to identify the best program fit to meet the needs of the customer, as well as develop a project plan to ensure maximum participation and benefits.

Commercial and Industrial
- On-bill repayment option for the installation of energy-efficient equipment and special incentives for custom energy-efficiency measures
- No-cost energy assessment, upfront costs and a repayment option to help small businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, faith-based organizations and other entities overcome the barriers to energy efficiency
- Continuation of the successful Engineered Solutions program that provides tailored assistance and incentives to help make it affordable for public service entities, such as municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities to invest in energy efficiency
- An energy management program to target energy savings by providing a holistic approach to improving building energy performance through maintenance, tune up and retro-commissioning services for existing buildings

Since the inception of SAVEGREEN in 2009, NJNG has invested nearly $220 million in energy-efficiency programs, generating more than $488 million in economic activity in its service territory while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last decade, nearly 64,000 customers have participated in SAVEGREEN, and the program has grown the green energy economy in New Jersey for the more than 2,875 contractors who have participated in the program.

All estimates of energy savings set forth above are generalized, and no particular amount of energy savings is promised or guaranteed. Terms, conditions and qualifications apply to all rebates, incentives and the on-bill repayment program.

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