The three-year gas system modernization program involves upgrades to the company’s cast iron and unprotected steel gas infrastructure as well as replacement of up to 510 miles of gas mains and 38,000 service lines with durable plastic piping to reduce potential leaks and methane gas releases.

PSE&G president and COO Ralph LaRossa said: "Accelerated replacement of our aging gas pipes ensures we can support a safe, clean and reliable gas system well into the future.

"Since 2009, our residential customers’ gas heating bills are down 47% because of the lower cost of natural gas supply. The timing is right to accelerate this work — while gas prices remain low."

Based on the condition and location of the gas mains, the firm will use data on methane emissions from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to prioritize the work.

In order to detect, map, and quantify methane emissions from natural gas distribution systems, EDF partnered with Google and Colorado State University, as part of the upgrade program.

EDF natural gas air policy director Jonathan Peress said: "Methane is the main ingredient in natural gas, and a highly potent greenhouse gas. PSE&G is the first gas utility to provide extensive information to EDF on its existing gas system and on its method of targeting mains for replacement.

"The utility’s willingness and commitment to actively participate in our survey program enabled us to focus our work so that PSE&G is able to use methane emissions data for its gas infrastructure upgrades."

The company will undertake the work across its service territory in 11 counties.

Engineering and planning of the construction is underway while the work is planned to commence in the spring.

LaRossa added: "Maintaining the integrity of New Jersey’s infrastructure supports the vitality of our economy."