Legislation to lower electric co-op rates is law


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Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to assist Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative in lowering electric rates has been signed into law.

“Helping entities, in this case a non-profit, navigate through the channels of state government in order to resolve an issue sometimes necessitates a change in the law,” Senator Oroho said. “Now that our legislation has been signed, Sussex Rural will be able to operate even more effectively for the community.”

Although Sussex Rural is a non-profit organization, due to their unique nature as the only rural electric cooperative in the state, they were never incorporated under state statute as such. This has caused them particular difficulties in securing FEMA monies. Congress made FEMA funding available to electric cooperatives to keep electricity costs reasonable and ensure smooth recoveries from major natural disasters.

The newly signed legislation — also known as the “New Jersey Rural Electric Cooperative Act — fixes the problem through a change in statute.

The bill also provides equal tax treatment for Sussex Rural in comparison to the other municipal power utilities in New Jersey, specifically, exempting it from paying the state Corporate Business Tax. It is estimated that this could result in a 1-percent rate decrease for co-op members.

“Our new law enables Sussex Rural to incorporate as a private non-profit, eliminating any FEMA eligibility roadblocks,” added Space. “This will provide enormous benefits to electric co-op members and help to lower electric rates.”
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