The utility said the increase is to recognize infrastructure investments – of approximately $346 million – that the company has made to improve and maintain its natural gas delivery system, which are not currently reflected in base rates.
“Responsible and prudent investments in our infrastructure are a key part of our commitment to customers,” said Christie McMullen, president and chief operations officer of Elizabethtown Gas in a prepared statement.
“Delivering safe, reliable, affordable natural gas service requires investments to replace aging mains, support compliance with State and Federal system integrity and safety regulations, and implement measures that improve the overall Elizabethtown Gas customer experience.”
While the request from Elizabethtown – a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries Inc. since its acquisition in July 2018 along with Elkton Gas for $1.7 billion – would allow it to recover investments through the proposed base rate increase the company said its merge with SJI provided customers with $15 million in total bill credits last year and that natural gas bills for its customers are “among the lowest in the state.”
The amount customers could end up paying, if the request is approved, would depend upon the amount of natural gas they use, and the level of increase the BPU actually approves.
According to the utility, Elizabethtown Gas services 292,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in parts of Union, Middlesex, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Morris and Mercer counties.