New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG), the regulated subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced on June 1 that it will provide a bill credit to residential and small commercial customers for the 2016-2017 winter season.
The full amount of the bill credit will be determined next fall, but the company already estimates residential heating and small commercial customers will benefit from a total reduction of $55.5 million from November 2016 through February 2017. The credit will vary based on individual usage and weather patterns over the four months.
The announcement comes as NJNG submits (Docket No. GR15121433) its annual Basic Gas Supply Service (BGSS) and Conservation Incentive Program (CIP) filing to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). Pending BPU approval of changes to NJNG’s BGSS and CIP rates, the net effect of the bill credits will result in an overall 9.5 percent decrease for the typical residential heating customer using 1,000 therms per year.
“We never stop working to meet our customers’ expectations for safe, reliable service at a competitive price,” said NJNG CEO Laurence M. Downes, adding, “We are able to provide real savings to our customers for the upcoming heating season as a result of our successful cost control and natural gas purchasing strategies, coupled with continued lower natural gas prices. As always, we remain committed to monitoring the market conditions and identifying opportunities to benefit our customers.”
NJNG’s proposed changes to its BGSS and CIP rates will be effective October 1, pending BPU approval. In its filings, NJNG is seeking a proposed 5.5 percent decrease related to its BGSS rate and an 8.2 percent increase related to its CIP rate, resulting in a net increase of 2.7 percent. The anticipated CIP rate reflects changes due to the warmer-than-normal temperatures experienced last winter. Factoring in the proposed bill credit, the typical residential heating customer will realize an annual total savings of $93, or 9.5 percent.
The BGSS rate currently accounts for approximately 49 percent of a customer’s bill and covers the cost to acquire natural gas. NJNG recovers its natural gas costs, without a profit, through the BGSS rate.
The CIP is designed to promote conservation and energy-efficiency practices, while normalizing year-to-year fluctuation from changing weather and usage patterns on both customers’ bills and NJNG’s financial margins.
The 2015-16 heating season was 25 percent warmer than the previous year. Since its inception in 2006, CIP has helped NJNG customers realize cost savings of more than $350 million through reduced energy usage, the company stated.
New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR’s principal subsidiary, operates and maintains over 7,000 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to serve over half a million customers in New Jersey’s Monmouth, Ocean and parts of Morris, Middlesex, Sussex, and Burlington counties.