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South Jersey Gas files to increase base rates by $75M

South Jersey Industries Inc. utility South Jersey Gas Co. filed a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to increase its base rates by about $75 million to account for the infrastructure investments it has made towards the upkeep of its gas delivery system.

The investments include replacement of aging mains, installation of new mains to meet growing demand, and expenditures to ensure compliance with state and federal system integrity and safety regulations, South Jersey Gas said in a Jan. 27 news release.

Since its last base rate case approval in 2014, the company will have spent about $518 million in system improvements that are not currently reflected in base rates, according to the news release.

Under the proposed rates, a residential heating customer using 100 therms of natural gas in a month would pay about $20.28 more per month.

"Investing in improvements to our infrastructure allows us to continue safely delivering a dependable supply of natural gas vital to heating customers' homes and operating their businesses," said Dave Robbins, president of South Jersey Gas. "The improvements were also critical to supporting the goals of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan. Those goals include expanding natural gas infrastructure, using natural gas as a transportation fuel, and substituting clean-burning, more affordable natural gas for other fuels in the residential and commercial sectors."