Utility files $507 million grid and IT reinforcement plan


US utility New Jersey Natural Gas has filed a proposal with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to invest in grid resiliency and modernisation of information technology systems.

The utility has plans to invest $507 million in reinforcing its natural gas delivery infrastructure and IT systems over the next five years.

New Jersey Natural Gas wants to replace IT systems installed between 1994 and 1997 with new technologies.

IT systems to be replaced include billing, cybersecurity, customer service, asset management, work order and accounting systems. Existing systems its feared, will expire by April 2025.

Grid infrastructure reinforcement projects will include:

  • Installing secondary feeds and approximately 16,000 excess flow valves to restrict the flow of natural gas if a service line is broken
  • Replacing trunk line systems and over seven miles of main and installing a new regulator station
  • Installing 60,000 protective devices on regulator vents in flood prone areas

Once approved, the utility will implement six annual energy tariff adjustments to recover the capital investments, as from October 2020.

For instance, a typical residential heating customer using 1,000 therms per year could see an average annual increase of approximately $18.35 or 1.8 % over the recovery period.

“As a regulated utility and lifeline service provider, we have a fundamental responsibility to provide our customers with safe and reliable service,” said Steve Westhoven, president and COO of New Jersey Resources. “This obligation is what drives our investments and our commitment to proactively strengthen our systems, improve our operations and continue to exceed our customers’ expectations.”