New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to implement a pilot program to help stimulate the market for natural gas vehicles (NGV) in the state and the benefits they provide. Under this program, NJNG will invest up to $10 million, over the next 12 months, to build between five and seven compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling stations at host facilities throughout its service territory. The use of NGVs, particularly for commercial fleets, will help lower emissions and provide a viable and economically valuable alternative to traditional petroleum-based vehicles.
"The need for greater fuel diversity has never been more important," said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of New Jersey Natural Gas. "I would like to commend the Board of Public Utilities for their approval of this pilot program and their leadership in advancing the goals of the state's Energy Master Plan. With the availability and price benefit of today's natural gas, we have an opportunity to help grow our economy and protect our environment by encouraging the market for alternative fuel vehicles, and that's good for New Jersey and our future."
Increasing the use of NGVs to meet the state's transportation needs provides a cost effective and environmentally cleaner choice of fuel. Compressed natural gas can reduce fuel costs between 30 and 50 percent over petroleum, a tremendous savings for businesses and individuals. Additionally, according to the American Gas Association natural gas powered vehicles produce up to 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel, which is good for the environment.
One of the major obstacles to the increased use of NGVs has been a lack of refueling infrastructure. Currently, there are only three refueling stations in New Jersey that are open to the public. With this pilot program, NJNG is helping to grow the market for NGVs in the state.
Beginning immediately, NJNG will work to identify companies in Monmouth, Ocean and Morris counties that currently use or plan to use NGVs in their fleet operations, such as waste hauling vehicles, buses and delivery trucks, to host the refueling stations. These facilities could be private companies or public and municipal entities. NJNG will install, own and maintain the infrastructure, and the host company will be required to make the station open to the public and use initially at least 20 percent of the refueling capacity.
Customers will not see any change to their bill in 2012 resulting from today's approval. NJNG will submit a cost recovery filing to the BPU in the first quarter of 2013, requesting a base rate change. A portion of the proceeds from the utilization of the CNG equipment, along with any available federal and state incentives, will be credited back to the ratepayers to help offset the cost of this investment. The total anticipated impact for the average residential customer using 1000 therms annually will be no more than three-tenths of one percent, or approximately $3.50
This investment will also serve to bolster the economy by creating and retaining both direct and indirect job opportunities. Building new refueling infrastructure provides construction work along with the growth opportunities for equipment manufacturers, and increased demand for natural gas vehicles necessitates increased vehicle production and sale, all of which provides direct and indirect economic benefits for local businesses and suppliers.
New Jersey Natural Gas is the principal subsidiary of New Jersey Resources (NJR), a Fortune 1000 company, that provides reliable energy and natural gas services including transportation, distribution and asset management in states from the Gulf Coast to the New England regions, including the Mid-Continent region, the West Coast and Canada, while investing in and maintaining an extensive infrastructure to support future growth. With over $2.5 billion in annual revenues, NJR safely and reliably operates and maintains 6,800 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to serve nearly half a million customers; develops and manages a diverse portfolio of 1.6 Bcf/day of transportation capacity and over 62 Bcf of storage capacity; and provides appliance installation, repair and contract service to nearly 150,000 homes and businesses. Additionally, NJR holds investments in midstream assets through equity partnerships including Steckman Ridge and Iroquois. Through Conserve to Preserve(R), NJR is helping customers save energy and money by promoting conservation and encouraging efficiency. For more information about NJR, visit www.njliving.com .