NEWARK, N.J., March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) today said the typical residential customer who receives both electric and gas from the utility is projected to pay about $12 less per year in 2018 than today if the utility gets approval for every project in its "Energy Strong" program to upgrade its electric and gas distribution systems. The bill impact assumes that natural gas costs remain low and PSE&G supply costs are at current levels. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120830/MM62627LOGO) On Feb. 20, PSE&G proposed investing $3.9 billion during the next 10 years to proactively protect and strengthen its electric and gas systems in the face of increasingly severe weather. Energy Strong would create about 5,800 jobs for electricians, mechanics, laborers, operating engineers and others, and countless opportunities for New Jersey businesses. The utility has asked for initial funding approval of $2.6 billion during the first five years. Because some of the improvements will take more time to implement, the utility may seek approval to spend an additional $1.3 billion in the latter five years to complete the program. "An energy infrastructure that is better able to withstand storms like Sandy and other natural disasters can help save NJ businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue and protect our families from the impact of extended power outages," said Ralph Izzo, PSEG chairman and CEO. "The good news is that our customers will get the benefit of a more resilient electric and gas system while we create thousands of jobs for the state's economy." In a filing today with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the utility detailed the proposed impacts on customers if the first part of the $3.9 billion investment is approved. Residential and business bills to remain stable A typical PSE&G residential combined electric and gas customer is projected to see their annual bill drop about $12, or $1 per month in 2018. Bills will fluctuate slightly between now and then. In 2014, the average customer's bill will be about 70 cents a month higher than 2013 and about $1.50 a month higher in 2015. Bills will then begin to drop. In 2016 the average bill will be about $4.70 a month lower than 2013 and $2.90 a month lower in 2017 compared to 2013. The above bill impacts assume current PSE&G supply costs. The utility estimates that in 2018, a typical annual residential electric bill will be approximately 3 percent lower than it was in 2008 and a typical gas bill will be approximately 33 percent lower -- even with the proposed additional spending – and still well below the rate of inflation.