A federal court has struck down the state’s efforts to spur development of new power plants, a decision with potentially big implications for what electricity customers will pay on their future energy bills.
The ruling, handed down late Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Sheridan in Trenton in a 67-page decision, may mean utility customers will not be on the hook for up to $3 billion in subsidies over the next 15 years to help three developers build new natural-gas fired plants.
If the decision stands, however, it deals a huge defeat to one of the Christie administration’s signature energy goals -- promoting the building of nearly 2,000 megawatts of new generation. Proponents argued that the plants, if built, would lower energy costs beyond what ratepayers would pay to subsidize the new units under a law enacted two years ago with broad bipartisan support.
New Jersey has some of the highest electric rates in the nation, a dubious distinction earned by congestion on the regional power grid, which tends to spike electricity costs, and the high prices paid to power suppliers to ensure there is enough capacity to keep the lights on in times of peak demand.
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