New Jersey Natural Gas, the principal subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, filed a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) this week requesting an increase of $222.6 million to its base rates.
The filing on Wednesday includes the recognition of approximately $850 million of investment by New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) to enhance the safety, reliability, security and environmental benefits of its delivery system and operations. These investments benefit customers but are not reflected in current rates, NJNG said.
The BPU review of the base rate case could take between nine and 12 months. If approved as filed, the typical NJNG residential heating customer using 81 therms a month would see an increase of $29.01.
“Our top priority is to safely and reliably deliver the energy our customers count on to heat their homes and run their businesses,” said Steve Westhoven, NJNG president and CEO. “The investments we make in our infrastructure reflect this commitment and the critical role our system plays in reaching New Jersey’s carbon reduction goals.
“We look forward to working with our regulators to achieve a successful resolution of this filing that is reasonable and fair for our customers and our company,” he added.
NJNG maintains infrastructure and operations throughout New Jersey that serve approximately 576,000 customers who depend on natural gas for heating and other essential needs. As a lifeline service provider, the company is committed to continually improving its operations and enhancing the safety and reliability of its distribution network, including the repair, replacement and modernization of its system. This includes:
- Upgrades to critical infrastructure, including looping and reinforcement projects, and the replacement of 140 miles of vintage distribution mains and associated service lines to ensure the safety, reliability and integrity of its delivery systems and support mandates set forth in state and federal regulation.
- Modernization and enhancement of customer service and dispatch operations to improve the customer experience and ensure efficient and effective response times and service calls.
- Cybersecurity investments consistent with industry standards to safeguard customer information and support the safe operations of NJNG’s systems.
- Increased labor costs, including the ratification of a new three-year union agreement, that support adequate staffing to meet our customers energy needs.
NJNG’s consistent infrastructure investments – a priority for the company – have made its system one of the most environmentally sound in the state as measured by the fewest leaks per mile of any natural gas utility in New Jersey, the company said. These investments also position NJNG’s critical assets to deliver the next generation of lower and zero carbon fuels, like clean hydrogen and renewable natural gas, and play a key role in achieving a cleaner energy future for New Jersey.
The proposed rate adjustment is necessary to ensure the responsible operation of NJNG’s business and recover costs associated with these critical infrastructure investments.
Natural gas bills consist of two main parts. The first part is the delivery charge, which includes base rates. The second is the Basic Gas Supply Service (BGSS), which covers the cost of purchasing natural gas.
The delivery charge covers the cost of providing safe, reliable natural gas service to customers and maintaining operations and delivery systems. The ability to earn a fair return on these capital investments helps NJNG continue to maintain a safe and reliable distribution system.
The BGSS portion of the bill is updated annually to reflect current market prices and is passed through to customers. NJNG does not profit from the sale of the natural gas commodity.
Any customer having difficulty paying their natural gas bill should visit the company’s website here to learn about available energy assistance programs.