Providing safe, reliable gas service to roughly 1.8 million customers across New Jersey is a big responsibility, and one we take very seriously at PSE&G. That’s why we have undertaken a multi-year program to update older portions of our network of 34,500 miles of underground pipes – enough to circle the earth and then some. About 4,000 miles of that network consist of century-old cast-iron and unprotected steel pipe that is showing its age. Although our service reliability continues to be excellent, we’re not waiting for problems to find us.
For the past two years, dedicated teams of PSE&G employees and contractors have been hard at work replacing hundreds of miles of pipes and service lines across the system as part of our Gas System Modernization Program (GSMP).
The investments we have made through GSMP have accelerated the modernization of our gas infrastructure that will allow us to continue to provide safe, reliable service well into the future. To date, we have replaced 312 miles of vintage or high-risk pipe and we’re on track to successfully replace a total of as much as 510 miles of pipe by the end of the program in December 2018. And I’m proud to say, our highly skilled workforce and experienced contractors have safely completed these upgrades with minimal disruption and inconvenience to our local communities.
But as this program moves toward completion, there is still much work to be done. We need to build on the momentum of GSMP and continue to advance the modernization of our gas system. And now is the perfect time to do this critical work. The price of natural gas is still hovering at historically low levels, with bills about 32 percent lower than they were eight years ago. PSE&G is also passing along savings as a result of lower federal taxes. The bottom line is that we can make these investments while still keeping customer bills affordable.
In July 2017, we filed a petition with the Board of Public Utilities to extend and accelerate our modernization efforts through GSMP II. If approved, this next phase of the program – which would be carried out over five years – would replace more than 1,000 additional miles of main, in addition to other necessary upgrades across the system.
GSMP II is a proactive and ambitious program. By choreographing critical upgrades during an intensive five-year period, we can work more efficiently than we could with piecemeal projects. In short, we can do more for less cost in a shorter amount of time.
There are added benefits to GSMP II. Replacing old pipe will reduce leaks, which not only makes the system safer, but reduces greenhouse gas emissions. And the work we will undertake will provide hundreds of sustained, full-time jobs and other economic benefits. Most importantly, GSMP II will continue the safe, reliable service our customers can depend on for decades to come. It’s a win-win-win.
Throughout our 115-year history, we’ve always had an eye on the future, striving to stay ahead of service threats and resolve issues before they become serious problems. The investments in GSMP II are a natural progression of that legacy and will ensure we can fulfill the commitment to the people of New Jersey that we hold so deeply.