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Op Ed: For and Against PSE&G's $4 Billion Grid Upgrade -- A Special Package

To encourage and further public debate on this important issue, NJ Spotlight presents two opposing positions.

PSE&G's proposed $4 billion filing to upgrade and enhance the resiliency of its power and natural gas grids has sparked off more than something of a stir among state officials, lawmakers, customers, and businesses across the state.

The utility argues that its Energy Strong program is a response to the flaws and shortcomings in its distribution systems revealed by Hurricane Sandy. While the Board of Public Utilities does not disagree with the purpose or need for the program, it has asked for a detailed cost-benefit analysis of all of its components.

The Division of Rate Counsel, meanwhile, has raised a flag that New Jersey consumers will end up bearing an inordinate burden for the upgrades. For its part, PSE&G has said that electric and gas rates will remain flat until 2018, when the utility says customer bills will drop well below 2008 levels.

As part of its charter, NJ Spotlight seeks to encourage responsible debate on critical public issues. In that spirit, on the following pages we offer two Op-Eds, each taking a different side of the the argument:

Philip K. Beachem, president of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, argues in favor of PSE&G's Proposal.

Fox Rothschild's Steven S. Goldenberg, legal counsel to the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition, presents the opposing argument.

Aaron Fischer is director of editorial operations for NJ Spotlight.

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