Self-Serving Gas Plan

Jan 25, 2017

To the Editor:

In a recent letter, a New Jersey Natural Gas official attacked another letter writer for making “false statements and baseless conjecture” about its proposed Southern Reliability Link (“Untrue Statements,” 1/11). In so doing, the official completely failed to set the record straight. Here are the facts:

NJNG has never once in its 65-year history suffered the kind of “significant disruption or system failure” that would be addressed by a secondary interstate pipeline connection. This cost-prohibitive project is a solution in need of a problem.

What the Southern Reliability Link does offer NJNG is a way to receive into its Ocean and Monmouth system the exact same volume of gas it has agreed to buy from its own corporate affiliate partner in its proposed PennEast pipeline. The continuous infrastructure has all been designed to seamlessly carry the identical volume of gas that NJNG has obligated its captive customers to buy from its own corporate entity.

PennEast’s partners – NJNG, South Jersey Gas and PSE&G – have told their investors that a major driver of their future profit growth strategies is this project’s displacement of New Jersey’s current, ample natural gas supplies with gas from their own, new stretch of pipeline.

Unless our regulators prevent it, none of these companies or their investors will be paying for these pipeline projects that will deliver their future profits. Instead, the companies plan to bill customers for the full cost of this interconnected infrastructure at a rate of return that the state’s ratepayer advocate has called “hitting the lottery.”

In fact, every NJNG customer would ultimately pay more than $1,500 for this continuous infrastructure, an exceedingly steep price for the solution to a problem that has never once occurred, and for the expensive privilege of being forced to build a conduit to buy natural gas from NJNG’s corporate affiliate.

The reality is that New Jersey’s natural gas companies are colluding with each other to sell natural gas to themselves at the expense of the state’s natural gas customers. It is self-serving and it is wrong.

Micah Rasmussen

Upper Freehold, N.J.

The writer served as communications director for NJNG from 2005 to 2014.




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