On September 23, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved provisional Basic Gas Supply Service (BGSS) rate reductions of between 5.0 percent and 14.3 percent for most residential and commercial natural gas customers, effective October 1 – including those of Elizabethtown Gas (ETG), New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG), Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), and South Jersey Gas (SJG).
“We are meeting a primary goal of Governor [Chris] Christie’s 2011 Energy Master Plan by achieving lower energy costs for all ratepayers,” said BPU President Richard Mroz, adding “The Energy Master Plan laid out a path to take full advantage of cleaner, cheaper natural gas for use by residents and businesses, to fuel power plants and distributive generation, and as an alternative fuel to diesel and gasoline. Over the past five years, this strategy has produced outstanding results for New Jersey ratepayers.”
When compared to utility bills from the winter of 2009, a typical residential natural gas customer of PSE&G using 100 therms per month this coming winter will benefit from a 51.5 percent cut to his or her monthly bill – from $167.00 in 2009 to $81.00 after October 1.
The typical residential customer of ETG will see a 52.0 percent drop next month in his or her monthly bill, from $171.36 to $82.33. Customers of NJNG and SJG, who use 100 therms per month, will see their bills reduced by about 38.2 percent (from $170.00 to $105.00); and by about 17.0 percent (from $141.26 to $117.21), respectively.
“Since 2009, residential ratepayers have seen their monthly natural gas bills fall with each successive year,” said Mroz. “While lower utility bills are certainly good news for both residential and business ratepayers, it also enables the board to approve the use of a small portion of those savings for pipeline replacement projects that improve safety and reliability while supporting jobs and the State’s economy.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) ranking of state residential retail natural gas prices, New Jersey’s position has plummeted in recent years – from one of the highest cost states in 2010 to one of the lowest cost states, the BPU claims. In 2010, New Jersey was ranked as the 17th-highest-cost state and in 2016 New Jersey’s monthly ranking has fallen to the fifth-lowest cost.
The BGSS serves as a method to pass along changes in wholesale gas costs directly to customers without affecting the gas companies’ income, as the companies do not make a profit on the gas supply price.