Correcting The Record: PennEast Equals Savings

September 6, 2016

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Published September 6, 2016, on NJ.com

The NJ Advance Media article, “Some N.J. gas customers could pay $161 to save $62, expert says,” was poorly reported and therefore does nothing to help New Jersey Natural Gas customers or your readers understand the issues.

The premise that the costs associated with the PennEast Pipeline, Transco’s Garden State Expansion project and New Jersey Natural Gas’ Southern Reliability Link don’t add up to savings for ratepayers is fundamentally flawed, as those costs are not linked.

The expected savings that will be provided by PennEast are not dependent on the Southern Reliability Link or the Garden State Expansion, as the article claims, nor is the operation of the Link dependent on construction of PennEast. Furthermore, the article incorrectly states that the Garden State Expansion is a New Jersey Natural Gas project. It is not; it will be constructed and owned by Transco.

The Southern Reliability Link, approved by regulators in March, is and has always been about supporting the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas and significantly strengthening New Jersey Natural Gas’ entire pipeline network by providing a second interstate supply to our system.

Currently, New Jersey Natural Gas is served primarily by one interstate pipeline, which provides between 85 percent and 90 percent of our total supply. You don’t need to be an energy expert to know that two feeds from two different sources are considerably more reliable than one.

Unless, of course, you are an industry “expert” hired by opponents of these projects.

Skipping Stone is not an objective energy market services firm; it is a hired gun. Skipping Stone is the same organization that speciously found that PennEast was not needed, even though greater than 90 percent of the project’s capacity is subscribed – the very definition of need.

It also erroneously found that the Southern Reliability Link was not needed, based on the uninformed and rather simple assumption that all supply points are equal, as well as a complete and obvious ignorance of New Jersey Natural Gas’ system flow dynamics.

As is clearly demonstrated by the above-referenced article, there are times when “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Unfortunately for those of us in New Jersey who rely on affordable, reliable, domestically produced natural gas, reporting without understanding, or in disregard of the facts, is a disservice to our customers, your readers and these important projects.

Kathleen T. Ellis

New Jersey Natural Gas

The writer is chief operating officer of New Jersey Natural Gas