Assembly bill (A2528) introduced last year, aims to amend and supplement the Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act. The part of this bill that is noteworthy for the business community is Section 3, which grants to corporations a credit against liability for the societal benefits charge imposed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:3-60 in an amount up to “that portion of the costs incurred by the corporation during the preceding calendar year for the purchase and installation of products or services that are intended for energy efficiency or renewable energy purposes[.]”

We note that under Section 3 of Assembly bill A2528, as proposed, only costs that would otherwise be eligible for incentives under programs funded by the societal benefits charge qualify for the credit.  Moreover, the credit against the societal benefits charge provided in this bill cannot exceed 100% of the amount that would otherwise be payable by the corporation during the calendar year when the credit may first be applied.  Fortunately, the proposed legislation also provides that should a corporation not be permitted to use the entire amount of the credit all at once, the excess may be carried over each year after the year in which the credit is first applied for a maximum of ten calendar years.

On December 13, 2010, the New Jersey State Assembly passed Assembly bill A2528 by a vote of 66-7-1 and, on the same date, the Senate received and referred the matter to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.  It will be interesting to see how far this legislative proposal gets in the Senate.  If ultimately enacted and approved by Governor Christie, businesses will have an easier time of obtaining government subsidies earmarked for energy efficient improvements and infrastructure for renewable energy facilities.