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New Jersey Natural Gas Plans to Invest $507M to Strengthen Infrastructure

Mon April 01, 2019 - Northeast Edition #7
New Jersey Resources

As a part of its ongoing commitment to provide safe and reliable service for its customers, New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) submitted a filing to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to reinforce its natural gas delivery and information technology (IT) systems. Through its Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP), NJNG is seeking to invest $507 million over five years on a series of infrastructure projects that enhance and support the reliability and resiliency of its systems.

"As a regulated utility and lifeline service provider, we have a fundamental responsibility to provide our customers with safe and reliable service," said Steve Westhoven, president and COO of New Jersey Resources. "This obligation is what drives our investments and our commitment to proactively strengthen our systems, improve our operations and continue to exceed our customers' expectations."

The IIP consists of a series of natural gas transmission and distribution replacement and enhancement projects and a critical, integrated IT program that will replace NJNG's existing systems installed between 1994 and 1997 and will no longer have extended support after April 2025. The IT upgrade will strengthen the infrastructure the NJNG team uses to serve its customers and will include new billing, customer service, asset management, work order and accounting systems. The initiative also will strengthen NJNG's cybersecurity program.

The transmission and distribution projects include:

  • 19 looping reinforcements that will add secondary feeds or interconnect to single feed distribution systems, and replace and upgrade NJNG's trunk line system in Lakewood, Denville and Roxbury.
  • Replacing more than 7 mi. of main and installing a new regulator station, connecting NJNG's liquefied natural gas facility in Howell to its transmission backbone.
  • Reconstructing and relocating a regulator station in Brick Township.
  • Installing 60,000 protective devices on regulator vents in flood prone areas.
  • Installing approximately 16,000 excess flow valves (EFV). An EFV automatically restricts the flow of natural gas if a service line is broken.

Each of these projects will strengthen NJNG's delivery system and enhance safety, reliability and resiliency.

Pending BPU approval, NJNG will begin necessary engineering and design work for the construction of these projects, with all work to be completed over a five-year timeframe. Work will be prioritized based on need and community impacts.

In the filing, NJNG is seeking to recover the capital investment costs associated with IIP through six annual adjustments to its base rate with the first change expected in October 2020. NJNG will submit to the BPU an annual cost recovery filing for investments placed in service during the program period. A typical residential heating customer using 1,000 therms per year could see an average annual increase of approximately $18.35 or 1.8 percent over the recovery period. Additionally, NJNG will file a base rate case no later than five years after the IIP is approved.

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