Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), an American energy utility, is planning to invest $3.9bn during a decade time to beef up and protect its electric and gas systems from severe weather conditions.
The utility has filed a request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) seeking an initial funding approval of $2.6bn during the first five years.
In the next five years, the utility is expected to seek approval for additional $1.3bn from NJBPU to complete the program.
The latest proposal is likely to create 5,800 new jobs, and provide economic benefits for the New Jersey state – all without impact on monthly bills of customers.
PSEG chairman and chief executive Ralph Izzo stated that the utility needs to focus on the resiliency of its systems to withstand natural disasters.
"It’s clear that Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the October ice storm in 2011 represent extreme weather patterns that have become commonplace," Izzo added.
"Sandy was a defining event for all of us; the state’s entire energy infrastructure needs to be rethought in light of weather conditions that many predict will continue to occur."
PSE&G president and COO Ralph LaRossa said that it is the "right time" to make investments without raising bills as the gas prices are lower and the firm is retiring some transitional charges.
"The utility estimates that in 2018, a typical annual residential electric bill will be approximately 5 percent lower than it was in 2008 and a typical gas bill will be approximately 35 percent lower — even with the proposed additional spending – and still well below the rate of inflation," added LaRossa.
Under the ‘Energy Strong’ program, PSE&G will protect over 40 utility installations from storms, fortifying power lines, make the electric grid smarter, and modernize the gas distribution system.