When South Jersey Gas officials secured approval in June from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to implement a five-year, $200 million Infrastructure Investment Program, they knew it could have great impact in the region — and they knew that impact could begin to be seen right away.
On Friday, South Jersey Gas President and Chief Operating Officer Brent Schomber said the company already is starting to replace approximately 250 miles of at-risk facilities, including vintage coated steel and Aldyl-A plastic mains and related services, and installing excess flow valves on new service lines.
The efforts began July 1. And, by targeting aging sections of the South Jersey Gas distribution system, the program will enhance the overall service provided to South Jersey Gas customers, support environmental stewardship by reducing emissions and facilitate economic development through job creation in New Jersey, Schomber said.
The program, which will not include a rate increase for customers, will improve reliability, Schomber said Friday in Medford.
“This Infrastructure Investment Program is first and foremost about ensuring that our more than 400,000 South Jersey Gas customers have safe, reliable, affordable service — not just for the immediate future, but for many years to come,” he said.
“It is essential that our system works ‘just right’ all of the time. The IIP and similar infrastructure investments are largely about being proactive and not reactive to things like climate change, severe weather or other threats to energy delivery systems.”
Addressing the issue of climate change is good for the environment — and the economy, Schomber said.
“By targeting aging sections of the South Jersey Gas distribution system, the program will enhance the overall service provided to South Jersey Gas customers, support environmental stewardship by reducing emissions and facilitate economic development through job creation in New Jersey,” he said.
Schomber said infrastructure investments and clean energy emphasis go hand in hand.
About South Jersey Gas
South Jersey Gas, a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries, delivers safe, reliable, affordable natural gas and promotes energy efficiency to more than 400,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, and portions of Gloucester, Burlington and Camden counties.
“When it comes to decarbonizing our operations — infrastructure enhancements are vital,” he said. “We are not only reducing the release of greenhouse gases by tightening up our system, but we are taking that next step to prepare our infrastructure to deliver the clean and renewable fuels of the future.
“We believe that clean fuels like renewable natural gas and green hydrogen will play a significant role in our company’s future — and we’re installing the best system to deliver those renewable fuels.”
Melissa Orsen, president of SJI Utilities, said the Infrastructure Investment Program aligns with the vision and mission of South Jersey Industries, the parent company of South Jersey Gas.
“Throughout our long history, our utilities have been steadfastly committed to ensuring the safety, security and reliability of our energy delivery systems,” she said. “While South Jersey Gas has been making considerable investments to modernize its natural gas system for many years, a significant portion of the company’s legacy distribution system is still comprised of aging, at-risk pipe.
“As these aging systems are replaced through an orderly, efficient program like the IIP, South Jersey Gas customers, the communities it serves and the state as a whole will receive immediate and tangible benefits.”