By Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight
It is no secret that Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New Jersey power's grid, leaving millions of customers without electricity -- many for a week or longer.
Get used to it, warns a new report.
Extreme weather is likely to increase not only in frequency but intensity, and the nation’s energy facilities will continue to suffer major disruptions, particularly those located in coastal regions, according to a draft National Climate Assessment report.
The likely consequences of those storms and of a warmer planet will be to ramp up peak electricity demand in regions like the Northeast, requiring additional generation and distribution facilities to be built, the report said. For consumers, that could mean as much as an 11 percent jump in bills, according to a separate study cited in the nearly 1,000-page report.
In New Jersey, consumer advocates have already warned of higher energy bills as the state’s gas and electric utilities invest hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrading, rebuilding, and possibly moving key elements of their infrastructure away from the flooding that contributed to power outages last fall.
“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,’’ the authors of the report cautioned in a letter to the American people.