Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to assist Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative was advanced by the New Jersey Senate.
Sen. Steve Oroho’s bill will help lower rates for Rural Electric Co-op members. (Flickr)
“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. “This legislation will enable Sussex Rural 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 legislation — S-2180, 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.
“By enabling Sussex Rural to incorporate as a private non-profit, we void any FEMA eligibility roadblocks,” said Oroho. “That has enormous benefits to electric co-op members because without FEMA assistance they could face higher electric rates.”
Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) is sponsor of the companion bill, A-3838, in the General Assembly.
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