South Jersey Industries : SOUTH JERSEY GAS SEEKS BASE RATE INCREASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Dan Lockwood, x4108
IR CONTACT: Marissa Travaline, x4227
November 29, 2013
SOUTH JERSEY GAS SEEKS BASE RATE INCREASE
FOLSOM, N.J. - South Jersey Gas announced today that it has petitioned the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for a base rate increase of $62 million in operating revenue. This filing primarily seeks to recover costs for $553 million of necessary infrastructure investments made to enhance the safety and reliability of SJG's system that will have been and will be spent between September 2010 and the end of 2014.
While the company is requesting an increase, it is important to note that SJG has reduced rates by 9.4 percent over the last three years and provided $53 million of bill credits to its customers. These rate adjustments have caused customer bills to be as low as they were a decade ago. SJG is also exploring opportunities to provide its customers with another bill credit this winter.
Should the full amount of the request be approved, a typical heating customer's monthly bill at 100-therms would increase by $18.43, from $128.31 to $146.74. Taking into consideration the rate reductions from decreases in natural gas costs that South Jersey Gas customers have seen over the past three years, if this base rate case were approved as filed, the net impact would be approximately $9.10 per month, or approximately 7 percent on the average residential customer bill.
"Our utility infrastructure is vital to supporting population growth and the economy in southern New Jersey and is also critical to reinforcing the goals of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan, which include expanding natural gas infrastructure in our region to support new, lower cost, gas-fired electric generation as well as to substitute natural gas for other fuels in the residential and commercial sectors," said Jeffrey E. DuBois, president of South Jersey Gas. "With the impact of Superstorm Sandy being felt throughout New Jersey, investing in the quality and safety of our natural gas delivery system has become more important than ever to ensuring that all of our customers continue to receive reliable, uninterrupted natural gas service," he added.
The rate case process generally takes about one year; therefore, any increase granted by the NJBPU would likely not become effective until the latter portion of 2014. In the interim, base rates will remain the same.
"We understand how a rate increase affects our customers, especially those on fixed incomes," said DuBois. "We also take every available measure to help our customers pay their bills." The company offers an Equal Payment Plan option and refers customers to assistance programs such as the TRUE Program, NJ Shares, Home Energy Assistance or Lifeline for which they may qualify. In addition, customers can access valuable information on the SJG website about services and programs, including energy audits and energy efficiency tips and options that can help reduce energy use and costs while still retaining comfort. Visit www.southjerseygas.com to access this energy efficiency information.
South Jersey Gas is the principal subsidiary of South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) and provides natural gas service to more than 357,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, and significant portions of Gloucester, Burlington and Camden counties in New Jersey. Visit www.southjerseygas.com to learn more.