Detours are an inevitable byproduct of a critical project that’s gearing up again this spring. PSE&G is speeding up the replacement of its aging gas infrastructure, which means our crews will be in 139 towns digging in streets and replacing pipes this year alone.
No doubt, the work is disruptive. But it has to be done, now is the time to do it, and here’s why:
Old pipes – PSE&G has just under 4,000 miles of cast iron pipes, and another 1,000 miles of unprotected steel – the largest inventory of any utility in the U.S. We have so much old piping because PSE&G has been serving customers for 114 years. Some of our pipes are more than a century old.
Methane leaks – Decades of freezing and thawing, and moist soil, cause cast iron to become brittle, and some pipes crack. When they crack, they release methane gas, which — as greenhouse gases go — is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Plastic pipes are better for the environment because they are much less likely to release methane gas.
Low gas prices – Why now? Natural gas prices are at historic lows. Reductions in gas supply costs have lowered PSE&G customer bills 53 percent since 2009. Do this now, and customers won’t feel a big pinch in their pocketbooks.
Jobs – These pipe replacements are creating “work” for people in New Jersey – about 500 jobs during the three-year program. In 2016, we hired 195 new, full-time employees for entry-level jobs, as well as supervisors and project managers. These are good paying, blue-collar jobs with benefits. This benefits the economy in other ways as well – creating jobs for contractors and in manufacturing. In fact, the majority of the plastic pipes we use are manufactured right here in New Jersey.
We are working closely with municipalities and local police to map out the schedules, and working block by block to minimize disruptions. But while there’s never a good time to close a road, we will do our best to move through your neighborhood as quickly and safely as possible. And we will be back to permanently repave the portion of the road we disturbed as soon as the ground and temporary pavement have settled.
When you see our crews in the street installing new pipes, please pardon any inconvenience. We’re working hard to make sure that your underground gas system is upgraded and modern to safely and reliably provide you with heat and hot water now and for many, many years into the future.
For more information about work going on in your town, visit www.pseg.com/gaswork.
Mike Gaffney – Senior Director, Gas Distribution Field Construction-PSE&G