For Immediate Release
Investor Relations Contact: Stephen Clark x4260
Media Contact: Dan Lockwood x4108
September 3, 2013
South Jersey Gas Proposes Storm Hardening and Reliability Program to NJBPU
Folsom, NJ - South Jersey Gas, subsidiary of South Jersey Industries (SJI), filed a petition today with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities seeking to enhance and protect its infrastructure in advance of future significant weather events.
"This petition falls directly in line with the NJBPU`s invitation to the state`s utilities to propose programs that will build greater resiliency into their systems in the aftermath of major weather events, specifically Superstorm Sandy," said Jeffrey E. DuBois, president of South Jersey Gas. "The focus of our program would be on areas most susceptible to storm damage - along the barrier islands of Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Based on the program, SJG would accelerate system resiliency projects over the next seven years totaling approximately $280 million that would be incremental to the company`s normal capital projects scheduled over that time period. SJG would spend about $40 million per year to perform this work and be able to earn a return of and on these investments as the funds are spent.
Specifically, work would include upgrading the company`s lower operating pressure distribution systems along the barrier islands. Lower pressure systems, by nature, are more susceptible to water intrusion during significant storms with flooding conditions. By upgrading this infrastructure and associated operating pressures, SJG would ensure the continued operation of its system during and after a major storm event.
These investments are expected to result in minimal increases to customer bills during the first year and duration of the program. Consistently low natural gas prices, resulting from the dramatic increase in gas supplies from shale formations such as the Marcellus, have helped offset the rate impact of other infrastructure investments made by SJG and have contributed to customer bills being as low as they were over 10 years ago.
In fact, over the past three years, SJG customers have seen reductions in their bills due to lower gas prices, including a 10.6 percent Basic Gas Supply Service rate reduction granted in 2010, a 3.4 percent rate reduction granted in 2011, and three Basic Gas Supply Service bill credits for $23 million in April 2011, $20 million in December 2011 and $10 million in January 2013.
This news release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this press release should be considered forward-looking statements made in good faith by the Company and are intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this press release words such as "anticipate", "believe", "expect", "estimate", "forecast", "goal", "intend", "objective", "plan", "project", "seek", "strategy" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions on an international, national, state and local level; weather conditions in our marketing areas; changes in commodity costs; the timing of new projects coming online; changes in the availability of natural gas; "non-routine" or "extraordinary" disruptions in our distribution system; regulatory, legislative and court decisions; competition; the availability and cost of capital; costs and effects of legal proceedings and environmental liabilities; the failure of customers, suppliers or business partners to fulfill their contractual obligations; and changes in business strategies. SJI assumes no duty to update these statements should actual events differ from expectations.
About South Jersey Industries
South Jersey Industries (NYSE: SJI), a member of the MSCI Global Climate Index, offers solutions to climate change and helps customers control energy costs. South Jersey Gas, one of the nation`s fastest growing natural gas utilities, delivers clean, efficient natural gas and promotes energy efficiency to customers in southern New Jersey. SJI`s non-regulated businesses, under South Jersey Energy Solutions, promote efficiency, clean technology and renewable energy by developing and operating on-site energy production facilities; acquiring and marketing natural gas and electricity for retail customers; providing wholesale commodity marketing and risk management services; and offering HVAC and other energy-efficiency related services. For more information about SJI and its subsidiaries, visit http://www.sjindustries.com.
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