In the US, the Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) plans to implement the second phase of its gas distribution system upgrade.PSE&G which is New Jersey’s largest electricity and gas distributor filed a proposal with the state’s energy regulator to continue deploying its grid modernisation initiative over the next five years.
According to a statement, PSE&G will invest $540 million a year and $2.7 billion over the course of the second phase of the programme in the event the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approves the project.
The programme will include the replacement of 1,250 miles of old and ageing cast iron and steel gas pipe lines with new plastic mains in the utility’s service territories in some 11 counties.
Since the launch of the company’s Gas System Modernisation Programme in 2015, PSE&G has replaced 510 miles of ageing distribution pipelines with new infrastructure under efforts to reduce transmission and distribution losses incurred through gas leaks.
According to PSE&G, the ageing gas distribution pipes were installed within the company’s network before 1960 and account for 25% of the utility’s total distribution network and 65% of gas leaks.
PSE&G and grid upgrade benefits
The replacement of 1,250 miles of gas distribution pipes is expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking off the road some 43,000 vehicles, improve the reliability of the utility’s system as well create local jobs.
The project is expected to create 3,000 full-time jobs a year during the course of the five year period.
In addition, the project will help PSE&G reduce maintenance costs directed towards regular fixing of leaking pipes and help the utility improve its customer services by keeping their energy bills low.
However, since 2009 PSE&G claims its energy bills for gas consumers lowered by 50% due to declines in the costs of natural gas.
Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G president, commented: “Through the success of our current modernisation programme, we’ve demonstrated we can manage a larger-scale, longer-duration programme safely and cost-effectively.
“Today’s proposal would give us the ability to replace more ageing gas pipes at an accelerated pace, ensuring we can continue to provide customers with safe, reliable natural gas service now, and for many years to come. The filing is also in line with the BPU’s proposed rules on supporting longer-term infrastructure programs.”
“Longer-term replacement programs like this one enable us to hire and train a stable workforce, knowing we will have sustained work for them,” said J. Fletcher Creamer Jr., CEO of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, a partner of PSEG in deploying the project.
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