New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to implement its Safety Acceleration and Facility Enhancement (SAFE) program. Through SAFE, NJNG will replace 276 miles, or approximately 50 percent, of the cast iron and unprotected steel mains and associated services in its delivery system over the next four years. Cast iron and unprotected steel mains and services were the most commonly used in the industry prior to 1970, and are more susceptible to corrosion and leaks. Excluding third-party damage, this aged infrastructure accounts for over 95 percent of all leaks found within NJNG’s system.
“Ensuring the safety of our customers and the reliability of our system is the most important thing we do,” said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of New Jersey Natural Gas. “With the approval of our SAFE program, we will significantly reduce the older and more susceptible parts of our infrastructure over the next four years. We commend the BPU and Division of Rate Counsel and appreciate their support of our commitment to improve NJNG’s system and best serve our customers now and for generations to come.”
Approximately 570 miles of NJNG’s infrastructure have been identified as being at least 45 years old, and the company routinely addresses the replacement of these facilities through its annual capital construction plan. The accelerated replacement of this aged main through the SAFE program is consistent with the state’s Energy Master Plan and its emphasis on investment in natural gas infrastructure as a pathway to lower energy costs and enhanced energy security.
NJNG will provide to the BPU and Rate Counsel a list of SAFE projects to be addressed each year, with the first to be provided within 90 days of the Board Order. Anticipated work schedules will be filed on or about October 1 for each subsequent year the program is in effect.