New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today celebrated a major milestone in the company’s history with the addition of its 500,000 th customer. The newest members of NJNG’s service territory are Joann and James Hayes of Toms River, NJ, who converted from oil heat and hot water to natural gas. As a result of lower natural gas prices, along with the installation of high-efficiency equipment, the Hayes family should be able to reduce their energy consumption between 15 and 20 percent and save approximately $1,000 annually on their energy costs.

“New Jersey Natural Gas began in 1952 with 14,000 customers,” said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO. “We now serve 500,000. This is a tremendous accomplishment and a testament to the women and men of our company who give their best every day to meet the expectations for safety and reliability of our half million customers.

“We are honored Mr. and Mrs. Hayes have chosen New Jersey Natural Gas,” Downes continued. “We look forward to meeting their energy needs and keeping their home warm for years to come.”

In commemoration of the landmark event, NJNG presented the family with a Broilmaster Premium Series natural gas grill, $1,000 in Visa gift cards and a gift bag, complete with grilling utensils, an energy-efficiency seal-up kit, CFL light bulbs, a low-flow shower head and a special Jersey Shore throw blanket, among other items.

Mr. and Mrs. Hayes made the decision to upgrade their heating equipment to clean, efficient natural gas to save energy and money. Currently, natural gas offers a significant price advantage over other fuel sources. At today’s prices, natural gas is about one-third the cost of heating oil and one-quarter the price of propane and electricity, resulting in significant savings for customers.

Conversions are a strong part of NJNG’s customer growth. Presently, conversions account for approximately six out of every 10 new customers. Over the past two years, the utility added approximately 13,000 new customers, a solid growth rate of 1.3 percent annually.

The family also was able to install a 95 percent AFUE high-efficiency furnace through NJNG’s SAVEGREEN Project®. SAVEGREEN provides incentives, such as grants and on-bill repayment opportunities, to help NJNG customers upgrade their equipment and make their homes more energy efficient. As a result, they received a $900 grant and a free home energy audit, conducted by a NJNG Building Performance Institute-certified auditor, to identify additional energy-efficiency opportunities at the home. Since inception in 2009, SAVEGREEN has awarded nearly 17,000 grants for high-efficiency upgrades and completed more than 15,000 energy audits.

Ocean County has been among the fastest growing communities in the state and NJNG’s service territory. Since January 13, 2000, when the company added its 400,000 customer, approximately half the total customer growth has occurred in the county.

“We are blessed with strong demographics and a great service territory that continues to grow,” Downes said. “Day or night, we will never stop working to serve our 500,000 customers today, and look forward to serving our future customers tomorrow.”

New Jersey Natural Gas

New Jersey Natural Gas is the principal subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, a Fortune 1000 company, that provides safe and reliable natural gas and renewable energy services, including transportation, distribution and asset management in states from the Gulf Coast to the New England regions, including the Mid-Continent region, the West Coast and Canada, while investing in and maintaining an extensive infrastructure to support future growth. With $3 billion in annual revenues, NJR safely and reliably operates and maintains 6,800 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to serve half a million customers; develops and manages a diverse portfolio of 1.2 Bcf/day of firm transportation and over 60.2 Bcf of firm storage capacity; offers low carbon, clean energy solutions through its commercial and residential solar programs and provides appliance installation, repair and contract service to nearly 130,000 homes and businesses. Additionally, NJR holds investments in midstream assets through equity partnerships including Steckman Ridge and Iroquois. Through Conserve to Preserve®, NJR is helping customers save energy and money by promoting conservation and encouraging efficiency. For more information about NJR, visit, “Like” us at or follow us on Twitter @NJNaturalGas.

Copyright Business Wire 2010