New Jersey is a place where most people appreciate the affordability, reliability and comfort that natural gas brings so that you can cook when you want, stay warm when you need and plan special events like BBQs and parties without worrying about infrastructure hiccups.
It’s also a place that embraces innovation, which means we’ve done things like create extensive natural gas systems earlier than others. As such, we have the distinction of having some of the most aging natural gas pipelines in the nation. Over this last decade, we’ve invested billions to modernize our system and we still have thousands of miles to go. But why do we make these upgrades?
Cast Iron and Steel
Cast iron and steel may sound like strong materials for pipelines, and they were when first used 60, 80 or even 100 years ago. Over time, contaminates and ground movement damage pipes – increasing the chances for gas leaks. While we are very good at safely and quickly repairing leaks, it is now safer, more cost effective and better for the environment to upgrade to durable, modern materials.
The many benefits (some listed below) today of our Gas System Modernization Program (GSMP) make us see the need for continuing this important work, even as our industry transitions to cleaner energy.
Greenhouse Gas Reductions
Natural gas contains methane, which is a greenhouse gas that we want to reduce to fight climate change. Every time there is a gas leak, some methane escapes into the atmosphere. By upgrading our system through GSMP we have reduced methane emissions by 22% compared to 2018 levels. Since 2011, we’ve reduced methane emissions by approximately 300,000 metric tons CO2e – the equivalent of taking 65,000 cars off the road. That’s significant.
These upgrades have other benefits including the ability to safely use higher pressure gas so that you can use higher efficiency appliances in your home and/or business. This infrastructure work also means more jobs, which positively benefit our local economies. Of course, fewer leaks mean an overall safer and more reliable gas system that benefits everyone.
Planning for the Future
The investments we make now on these upgrades are also investments for the future because the modern materials we use can carry alternative fuels – renewable natural gas, hydrogen or something new that has yet to be tested but may one day enable the comforts we’ll continue to crave.
As your utility, we have a vision of a future where people use less energy, and it’s cleaner, safer and delivered more reliably than ever. We call that Powering Progress. GSMP is just one key way we’re working now to deliver on that promise.