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South Jersey Reports Weekend Demand Record, Braces for Another Winter Blast

South Jersey Reports Weekend Demand Record, Braces for Another Winter Blast

Northeast utilities continue to report new gas demand records due to extremely low temperatures last Friday and Saturday, but those records are not expected to last long because more severe winter weather is on the way. The National Weather Service is expecting sub-zero temperatures Tuesday night in New England and snow and continued cold through the rest of the week.

South Jersey Gas (SJG) reported Tuesday that it set a new gas demand record on Jan. 10 when temperatures averaged 11 degrees. Its daily sendout record was 427,999 Dth, breaking the former single day record of 420,405 Dth on Jan. 23.

"Despite consistently cold weather, our portfolio of gas supplies was more than sufficient to meet our customers' needs," said Ed Graham, president of SJG. "We employ a prudent natural gas supply strategy which allows us to handle extreme winter temperatures like those recently affecting our region."

KeySpan also reported new demand records over the last weekend for its delivery systems in New England and Long Island. But it also reported that its system supply was adequate to meet the new records and to handle whatever the rest of the week may bring.

Weather reports are predicting more extreme temperatures as early as Tuesday night and extending through Friday. South Jersey said that if the predictions are accurate, Friday morning could be one of the coldest mornings in 50 years. South Jersey serves natural gas to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in seven New Jersey counties.

Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), New Jersey's largest electric and gas utility, said it is responding to an exceptionally high number of calls from customers with no heat, more than double those received on a typical winter's day. Anticipating a second blast of frigid temperatures later in the week, the utility said it will staff its call centers with additional customer service professionals and extend the work hours of service technicians.

Several gas utilities in the Northeast said Tuesday they were cutting interruptible transportation to some commercial and industrial customers in order to ensure that enough capacity will be available to meet small customer heating demand later this week.

Temperatures in Boston Wednesday are expected to reach a high of only eight degrees. Lows Friday through Saturday are expected to tumble to minus four degrees.

"The combination of blustery northwest winds between 15 and 25 mph and temperatures in the minus five to plus five degrees will produce wind chill values from 15 to 24 degrees [range] below zero late tonight and Wednesday morning," the National Weather Service said. "These wind chill values will cause frostbite on exposed flesh within approximately 30 minutes."

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