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NRG CEO Mauricio Gutierrez Testimony on S-3560, An Act Concerning Nuclear Energy

December 20, 2017

Testimony of Mauricio Gutierrez, President & CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.

Legislative Hearing on S-3560 An Act Concerning Nuclear Energy

Senate Committee on Environment and Energy and

Assembly Committee on Telecommunications and Utilities

December 20, 2017

Mr. Chairmen and members of the Committees, my name is Mauricio Gutierrez and I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of NRG Energy. I live and work here in New Jersey, as do hundreds of my fellow NRG employees. 

NRG is a Fortune 500 energy company. As you may know, our headquarters are right up the road, on Route 1 in Princeton.  

The nuclear subsidy legislation before you is bad public policy. It creates only ONE winner – PSE&G – and many losers, including my company and our employees. It is bad for the citizens and electricity customers of this state; it is bad for the state’s economy; and it is bad for the business climate. It will increase the cost of electricity and make our state less competitive. It just sends the wrong message to anyone thinking about moving to this state or creating jobs in New Jersey.  

This legislation is also unnecessary. PSE&G has already told you that its nuclear plants are profitable. I struggle to understand why you are willing to consider legislation that would give additional money to a company just because their plants MAY be unprofitable at some unknown point in the future.  

The State of Connecticut just went through a similar situation. Their legislature did not pass a similar request from a nuclear owner in 2016 and 2017, and instead decided to responsibly study the issue. Just last week, that State’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection released a report – after considering confidential information supplied by the nuclear plant owner – revealing that the plant is profitable through 2035. That’s 2035!  

With just one simple study, Connecticut learned that the facts just didn’t support what the nuclear plant owner had told the State’s legislature – as well as the press, the local chambers of commerce, and even the plant owners’ own employees. If the legislature of New Jersey is serious about this issue, then it should conduct an independent study on the profitability of PSEG’s plants. There’s no emergency, and nothing needs to be done right now. 

In the end, you are accountable for what happens with this legislation. You cannot pass the buck by saying that you don’t like what’s in the bill but that you’re not going to stand in its way. This bill represents an unnecessary $300 to $400 MILLION energy tax every year on millions of electricity customers across New Jersey. You should kill this bill right now – but if you don’t, the only other responsible course is to direct the State to study the economics of these plants, just as Connecticut did.

NRG moved its headquarters to New Jersey in 2004, and subsequently built a new headquarters building here in 2016. We believed this could be a good place for our business and our employees. I can tell you with certainty that if the legislature had passed this anti-consumer, anti-competitive bill before either of those decisions, we would not have located our headquarters here or invested in a new headquarters building. 

You have an opportunity to send an unequivocal message to your constituents and businesses by saying NO to this subsidy. Please show your constituents, and the consumers and businesses in New Jersey, that you stand with them -- and that you will not tax them to provide an unnecessary subsidy for the nuclear plants of one company. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Mauricio Gutierrez

Mauricio Gutierrez is President and CEO of NRG. Mauricio joined NRG in 2004 and helped build it from a regional wholesale generation business to a national, Fortune 500 diversified energy company. NRG...

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