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New Jersey Utilities Credit Marcellus For Residential Rate Rollback

Two utilities that supply natural gas in New Jersey will slash their rates to residential customers, thanks to an abundant supply of gas from the nearby Marcellus Shale, they said Wednesday.

In its annual filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the state's largest utility, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G), said it will reduce its basic gas supply rate this winter from 40 to 34 cents/therm. The utility said the new gas rate, the lowest in 16 years, would save a typical residential customer about $64 a year -- from $870 to $806, a 7.4% reduction. During the winter, that same customer would see their monthly bill fall from $139 to $128, an 8% decline.

"To put this proposed rate reduction into perspective, in 2009 PSE&G's gas supply rate was $1.19/therm," said Jorge Cardenas, PSE&G vice president for asset management and centralized services. "That is a huge savings. As the price of natural gas continues to decline, we are pleased to once again pass these savings on to our residential customers."

In a separate filing with the BPU, South Jersey Gas said it was reducing its gas rate for residential customers by 3.7%, leading to overall monthly savings of $4.39.

"Our ability to secure a consistent supply of lower-priced natural gas from nearby Marcellus Shale producers has enabled us to provide a rate reduction for our customers for the second year in a row,” said South Jersey Gas President Jeffrey E. DuBois. "As a result, annual customer bills today are, on average, at their lowest levels in 15 years."

The new rates at both utilities will take effect Oct. 1.

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