South Jersey Gas Receives Rate Increase From BPU
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) followed its own
precedent set in early October in rulings involving three other
state utilities by granting South Jersey Gas last week almost half
of the Levelized Gas Adjustment Clause increase it requested to
meet higher wholesale natural gas prices. The utility had
petitioned for a 39.7% rate increase, but the board granted the
company a 19% annual raise.
South Jersey Gas' rate will jump from $0.78 per therm to a
little over $0.94 per therm, raising the average residential
customers' total annual bill by $152.29. The new rate will take
effect immediately upon the BPU's signing of the order.
In similar BPU orders issued last month, Elizabethtown Gas requested a 17.3
to 30% increase, but the board only approved a 17.3% hike. Likewise, Public
Service Electric and Gas Co. wanted a 24% increase, but instead received 16%.
New Jersey Natural Gas received the 16% rate hike it petitioned for (see NGI,
"Over the last several months energy prices nationwide rose
dramatically for most major fuel sources including oil and natural
gas. This rate increase was necessary to recover the record
wholesale natural gas costs we've already incurred and paid for on
behalf of our customers. As soon as it is possible to reduce this
rate we will file to do so," said Charles Biscieglia, CEO of South
Jersey Gas. "We urge our customers to join our free Equal Payment
Plan to help level the impact from month to month."
Like the rate increase orders passed down to the other
utilities, South Jersey Gas will have the ability to raise or lower
its rates by 2% in December, and by another 2% in January. The
utility must also file with the board in early December to
substantiate any further increases to ensure its rates reflect
market conditions for February, March and April.
A subsidiary of South Jersey Industries, the utility serves
280,000 customers in seven New Jersey counties.
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