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Sunday, May 26, 2024


The Wrap: Energy Transition, Smart Meters and Parents’ Bill of Rights

The Ocean Wind 1 farm will sit 15 miles off the coast from Ocean City.

By Herald Staff

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Sept. 26 – Oct. 2:

Energy Transition

There’s been a lot of activity lately related to the transition to renewable energy. Much of it is happening through executive action at state and federal levels or by the decisions of non-elected boards and commissions. Much of it goes unexplained to the general public.
This week, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities held public hearings on a petition from Ocean Wind LLC. The company wants the BPU to overrule the objections of Cape May County Commissioners concerning the placement of high-voltage electrical transmission cables across county land.
However, the BPU held a meeting the night before the public hearings to grant Ocean Wind permission to bring its transmission cables on land at an Ocean City beach, run them through city streets and lay them across the back bay. How likely is the BPU to deny the authorization to Ocean Wind for the use of county land? 
In fact, this came as Gov. Phil Murphy issued a new executive order increasing the expected end capacity of the shore wind farms by 50%, all before the first one has begun construction. He also instructed the same BPU to study the feasibility of increasing the capacity further. 

Smart Meters

We have found out that the much touted Atlantic City Electric smart meter initiative will enable time-of-use billing, meaning the utility can charge you more for using electricity during peak hours and offer a break if you switch that use to off-peak times. The problem is that the utility never mentioned that fact when it listed the many benefits of the smart meters to the public. Full disclosure is apparently awaiting a future rate request to the BPU. Yep, them again.
Large-scale electrification of transport, homes, commercial buildings and industry is an essential aspect of the plans to combat climate change. The burden on the electrical grid will grow. An incentive is needed to move electric use from peak periods and time-of-use pricing is intended to be that incentive. 
In case you are not a regular reader of the Federal Register, a short insert from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy reported that on an energy equivalent basis, the use of electricity in 2021 cost three times the equivalent units of natural gas and two times that of heating oil or propane. 
Electrifying everything is the strategy, but there are a lot of pieces that have to fall into place. Apologies if you are among those who did not get the memo.

Parents’ Bill of Rights

Upper Township Committee recently joined with Ocean City Council and Cape May County Commissionersin supporting a parental bill of rights that would give parents more control over how their children are educated. The legislation proposed in Trenton probably does not stand much chance of passage.
What stirred this latest round of debate over public education curriculum is the New Jersey sex education standards set to go into effect this month. The controversy is loud and acrimonious. Yet available information suggests that the vast majority of the state’s 600+ school districts have accepted the standards.
The Rutgers Eagleton Center released a recent poll showing support for sex education at high school and middle school levels. The same poll reported a relatively even split concerning imposing sex education in elementary school. 
Just three days ago Murphy nominated three new members to the state school board to replace those nominated by his predecessor. The move drew immediate criticism from Republicans because the three board members to be replaced were among the four who voted against the new sex education standards.


Sea Isle City is joining other county municipalities in seeking to reduce speed on heavily traveled roads within their jurisdictions. Sea Isle plans to reduce speeds on Landis Avenue. Safety concerns are rising to the top of citizen complaint lists and municipalities are taking heed.
The cause of a Tuckahoe Road fatal crash in the spring is now known. No surprise, the driver who caused the accident had three times the legal limit of alcohol. 
The driver accused of death by auto during the Wildwood car rally has had new charges added to his woes while a second driver accused of hitting a golf cart and causing serious injury has joined the first as a houseguest at the county’s correction facility. 
Avalon announced the award of its three contracts for solid waste, recycling and bulk waste to Pinelands Construction. This award, along with others in the county, comes at the expense of Gold Medal Environmental, the trash hauler who angered many local officials with a demand for extra compensation just before the start of the summer season.
Area Methodist churches are facing internal conflict over liberalizing tendencies at the national level. A similar impact is taking its toll on the county League of Women Voters. The local League has been accused of partisan politics after state and national organizations of the league adopted controversial positions on hot-button issues.
The latest state mandate requires that business and multifamily rental units carry specific levels of liability insurance. Landlords and business owners must also register an annual certificate of insurance with their local municipality. Of course, the tracking and enforcement of the state mandate fall to the towns. Keep telling yourself that New Jersey is a home rule state.
As the damage and human toll associated with Hurricane Ian is still being tallied, the latest global model projects the insurance industry is looking at an annual loss for 2022 of $123 billion, up 16% from 2021. Among the factors driving the increase are continued construction in high-hazard areas and high levels of inflation impacting repair costs.
The chaos caused by the unsanctioned car rally in Wildwood City is still reverberating in the community with residents wanting to know what more precautions were not taken prior to the event and what will be done to prevent such a happening again.

Spout Off of the Week

Cape May Court House – Whatever happened to the Movie Theater, bar/restaurant, bowling alley complex at the former KMart/Frank Theaters in Rio Grande?? It has been talked about for a few years now, with no progress. Seems like an opening has been mentioned several times in the past few years, like “this fall” or “this spring,” with nothing to show for it.

Spout Off

North Cape May – Re: The North Cape May comment to vacation renters letting their dogs do their business on your property. You've got guts for your comment. Yes, I own a vacation rental property that is pet…

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Wildwood – Another trash strewn, violent Memorial Day Weekend all over the Wildwoods Island. Hello Mayors and Police Chiefs you folks need to get more county and state law enforcement involved here before…

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Wildwood – So Memorial Day Weekend has been ruined for families and respectful adults of all ages by the disrespectful violent teenagers and young adults that have ruined the boardwalk for everyone after 7 pm…

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