FirstEnergy claims the Monmouth County Reliability Project (MCRP) will address demand and reliability. FirstEnergy said we would have brownouts if lines were not built in 1989. They were not installed and we have not had widespread outages. Neither Hurricane Irene or Sandy caused outages related to transmission lines. Why should we believe their claims now? The only large-scale outage we had was in 2003 due to negligence at FirstEnergy.
Other utilities have turned to demand response (DR) programs to modify capacity. DR offers financial incentives to consumers who consume energy at off-peak times. FirstEnergy has fought against DR programs. They could have offered DR over the past 17 years to address capacity, modify congestion and alleviate high costs. FirstEnergy has not evolved and is investing in coal. They want this $111 million project to pay for their mistakes since transmission projects earn them higher rates of return.
Technology enables utilities to reduce the need for large-scale transmission projects by using efficiency, distributed energy and storage. FirstEnergy has not considered alternatives and is using yesterday’s plan to “modernize our grid.”
This project doesn’t promote the goals stated in our Energy Master Plan. Our towns rely on property taxes to fund school, town and county budgets. Thousands of homes within feet of this proposed line will lose value. The financial burden of this project will be shifted to the residents and ratepayers as FirstEnergy reaps its guaranteed profits.