Public Service Enterprise Group

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

Public Service Enterprise Group
Type Public (NYSEPEG)
Headquarters 80 Park Plaza
Newark, NJ 07102
Area served NJ
Key people Ralph Izzo, CEO
Industry Electric Producer & Utility
Natural Gas Utility
Products Electricity, Natural Gas
Revenue $12.9 billion (2007)[1]
Net income $1.34 billion (2007)[1]
Employees 9,857 (2007)
Subsidiaries Public Service Electric & Gas
PSEG Power
PSEG Energy Holdings
PSEG Fossil
PSEG Resources & Trade
PSEG Nuclear
PSEG Services Corp.

The Public Service Electric and Gas Company (commonly known as PSE&G, and originally known as the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey) (NYSE: PEG) is a regulated, publicly owned gas and electric utility company in the state of New Jersey, USA. It is New Jersey's oldest and largest publicly owned utility.

PSE&G currently serves nearly three quarters of New Jersey's population in a service area consisting of a 2,600- square-mile diagonal corridor across the state from Bergen to Gloucester Counties. PSE&G is the largest provider of gas and electric service, servicing 1.7 million gas customers and 2.1 million electric customers in more than 300 urban, suburban and rural communities, including New Jersey 's six largest cities.

The Public Service Corporation was formed in 1903 by amalgamating more than 400 gas, electric and transportation companies in New Jersey. It was re-named Public Service Electric and Gas Company in 1948. Today, it is called Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG).

In June of 2005, the acquisition of PSE&G by Exelon, a Chicago and Philadelphia based utility conglomerate, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, however the deal was never consummated and eventually dissolved after it became clear that it would not win state regulatory approval.[2]

Power portfolio

Out of its total 13,580 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (1.27% of the U.S. total), PSEG produced 49.1% from natural gas, 25.8% from nuclear, 12.6% from coal, and 12.4% from oil. PSEG owns power plants in Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, and New York; power plants in New Jersey represent 76.7% of the company's generating capacity.[3]

Existing coal-fired power plants

PSEG owned 4 coal-fired generating stations in 2005, with 1,713 MW of capacity. Here is a list of PSEG's coal power plants:[3][4][5]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity 2007 CO2 Emissions 2006 SO2 Emissions
Hudson NJ Hudson 1968 660 MW 3,508,000 tons 19,709 tons
Mercer NJ Mercer 1960, 1961 653 MW 2,358,000 tons 14,517 tons
Bridgeport CT Fairfield 1968 400 MW 3,171,000 tons 2,885 tons

In 2006, PSEG's 3 coal-fired power plants emitted 9.0 million tons of CO2 and 37,000 tons of SO2.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[6] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 92 $669.63 million
Heart attacks 165 $18.0 million
Asthma attacks 1,522 $79.1 thousand
Chronic bronchitis 58 $25.4 million
Asthma ER visits 61 $22.6 thousand
Hospital admissions 75 $1.73 million

Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force. Note: This data includes the following plants owned by Exelon and subsidiary Public Service Enterprise Group: Hudson, Mercer, Bridgeport, Eddystone, Cromby, and the Bergen Station.

PSEG Fossil L.L.C. Civil Judicial Settlement

On November 30, 2006 the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice along with the State of New Jersey announced a settlement with Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) related to the company's failure to comply with a 2002 consent decree that required the utility to install pollution control devices at two of its coal-fired power plants.

PSEG was required to pay a civil penalty of $6 million – $4.25 million to the federal government and $1.75 million to New Jersey. Under settlement agreements PSEG was also required to spend $3.25 million on environmental mitigation projects.

The amended agreement, signed by the United States and the State of New Jersey, requires the electric utility to accelerate the installation of air pollution control equipment at its Mercer Generating Station, to install additional control equipment that was not previously required and to carry out a host of interim pollution control measures in exchange for delaying the installation of pollution controls required under the original timeline at PSEG's Hudson Generating Station.

The EPA notes that "Under the 2002 consent decree, PSEG was required to install pollution control equipment at the Mercer and Hudson plants to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), and take steps to reduce mercury and carbon dioxide emissions. The utility did install pollution control equipment for nitrogen oxides known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) at its Mercer plant. SCR is capable of reducing nitrogen oxides by approximately 90%. However, PSEG has failed to take the necessary steps to install required pollution control equipment at the Hudson facility as required by the original settlement."

The settlement required PSEG to install an acid gas scrubber for removing sulfur dioxide from (SO2) exhaust gases produced by the power plant – at one of the Mercer plants as well as one at an additional Mercer plant by 2010. In addition, PSEG agreed to install baghouses or dust collection chambers at its Mercer plant.

PSEG was also required to meet new NOx emissions limit at the Mercer plant starting January 1, 2007. In addition, the company was required to install baghouses or dust collection chambers at its Mercer plant to cut pollution more than a less effective technology it was previously using. Lastly, PSEG is required to use carbon injection systems, not previously required, to reduce mercury emissions from the Mercer facility.

The EPA also stated that these measures include year-round operation of the existing NOx control equipment "utilizing selective non-catalytic reduction to reduce NOx, use of ultra-low sulfur coal, compliance with annual emission caps for NOx and SO2, and operation of an electrostatic precipitator and a fly ash conditioning system to control PM. Installation of permanent controls will be delayed until December 31, 2010, unless PSEG chooses to shut down the unit altogether in 2008."[8]


Muscatine Power & Water is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.[9]

ACAA set up a front group called Citizens for Recycling First, which argues that using toxic coal ash as fill in other products is safe, despite evidence to the contrary.[9]

Citizen Activism

PSE&G's Hudson Generating Station and Environmental Justice

Resident RJ Harper on the Hudson Plant

PSE&G's Hudson Generating Station ranked #2 in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)'s 2010 report on the nation’s most toxic coal fired power plants. NAACP ranking on environmental justice and coal was based on level of poisonous emissions from coal plants, cross referenced by proximity to large populations of communities of color and low-income communities. Within a three mile radius of the Hudson plant, 85% of the area's 100,000 plus residents are African Americans with an average income of $10,000 per year. Hudson is among over 100 coal plants near residential areas.[10]

NAACP Clearing the Air Road Tour and the Bridgeport Harbor Station

Bridgeport, CT resident Adrienne Farrar on air pollution in Bridgeport, CT.

In April 2010, Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP Climate Justice interviewed community members in Bridgeport. Jacqui wrote the following account of the impacts of the Bridgeport Harbor Station:[11]

Bridgeport is the second-poorest city in Connecticut after Hartford, with a per capita income just over half of the state average. The plant is wedged between Bridgeport’s Downtown and South End neighborhoods, which are among the city’s poorest. The average income of people who live within one mile of the plant is just $11,400, and over 87% of the plant’s neighbors are people of color. Six schools are within a mile of the plant, as is the University of Bridgeport (the tenth-most racially diverse university in the country, with over 60% students of color).
Bridgeport, CT resident Audrey Gaines on air pollution in Bridgeport, CT.
The stories in Bridgeport solidified a pattern that has been consistent throughout the trip including high rates of respiratory illnesses, nuisance coal ash, and disproportionate exposure by low income communities of color.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Adrienne, who is administering a training program for green jobs, Audrey whose job in the public health department has and her lifelong residency in Bridgeport have shown the impact of the coal plant on the community, and Craig who has spent the majority of his 59 years in Bridgeport and was able to provide a tour of the neighborhood surrounding the plant.
Craig Kelly of the NAACP on air pollution in Bridgeport, CT.
As we started our tour at the plant, we weren’t able to begin our filming in front of the plant because we were run off by security who stated that filming in front of the plant was a felony offense by order of the department of Homeland Security! During the tour you’ll see on the footage several times where I filmed the plant from afar, including a bit where I filmed the largest mountain of coal I’ve seen yet in all my visits to coal plants. And it is completely uncovered, which is why even now I have coal dust on my car. Craig, who narrated our tour, omitted any indication of filming of the plant when I was doing it, seemingly out of fear that he might be implicated by my lawlessness so watch for the coal mountain because it won’t be mentioned!
Adrienne shared some history of the South End community, where the plant is located, and talked about concerns that have been expressed by residents bout coal soot covering their cars, not being able to open their windows, and not being able to hang out laundry because of the coal ash.

Greenpeace protest at Bridgeport Station

Coal Activist Reports in from Banner Hang

On Feb. 17, 2011, Greenpeace activists scaled the Bridgeport Harbor coal plant and unfurled a 20 X 40 ft banner with the message "Shut it Down: Quit Coal." The event marked the first major action of Greenpeace's 'Quit Coal' campaign, which seeks to highlight the devastating consequences of continuing to rely on the fossil fuel in the United States. According to Greenpeace, the Bridgeport Harbor plant is an old, polluting coal plant that is no longer necessary to provide power to the Connecticut grid, and should be shut down to mitigate the worst effects of global climate change.[12]

Police cut the banner down, and at least five activists were reportedly arrested for their connection with the event.[12]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., BusinessWeek Company Insight Center, accessed July 2008.
  2. PSEG Press Release, Sept. 14, 2006.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
  4. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  5. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. " United States and New Jersey Announce Clean Air Act Settlement with PSEG Fossil LLC for Violations of 2002 Consent Decree; Utility Required to Pay Significantly Increased Penalties and Reduce Emissions," U.S. EPA, November 30, 2006.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
  10. Jacqui Patterson, Day 9: Bridgeport, Connecticut April 14, 2010.
  11. "Day IX Clearing th eAir Road Tour - Bridgeport, CT - Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station," NAACP Climate Justice Initiative, April 24, 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 Brian Merchant, "Live Blogging: Detained by Police at Greenpeace Anti-Coal Protest" Tree Hugger, Feb. 17, 2011.

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Public Service Enterprise Group. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.