(Wyomissing, Pa.) – The extreme cold gripping the State over the last week is driving increased demand for natural gas by New Jersey residents, electric power generators and businesses – and new pricing data shows New Jerseyans are paying as much as 31 times more for natural gas than they would for supplies that will be accessed by the PennEast Pipeline.
Had PennEast been in service by this winter as originally contemplated, customers would have had access to this less expensive gas. Over the last few weeks alone, the total difference in gas cost to which PennEast would have had the capacity to access exceeds $300 million.
Natural gas prices serving the New Jersey market have skyrocketed in recent days, hitting as high as 3,000 percent more than gas supplies produced in Pennsylvania, where the PennEast Pipeline will have access.
“The need to stabilize prices during periods of peak demand is one of many reasons the PennEast Pipeline is necessary,” said Tony Cox of the PennEast Pipeline Company. “If this trend continues, the PennEast Pipeline could pay for itself in a single winter. For large energy users – like manufacturers, industrials and power generators – these price spikes cause massive unexpected costs, and trigger a domino effect that negatively impacts consumers, jobs and economic productivity. It’s also bad for the environment, as some businesses switch to using environmentally unfriendly fuels to generate power or just to keep their buildings heated.”
At least 75 percent of New Jersey homes rely on natural gas for home heating, and 56 percent of New Jersey’s electricity is powered by natural gas. Still, even during non-peak periods in October, natural gas pricing in New Jersey was on average three times more expensive, further reflecting the need for additional pipeline capacity.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” added Cox. “New Jersey is next door to one of the world’s most affordable natural gas supplies, which PennEast Pipeline would access for the benefit of every New Jersey resident and business.”
PennEast Pipeline has gone through four years of extensive review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC’s process involves input from multiple other federal, as well as state regulatory agencies, landowners, public officials and other stakeholders. Originally slated to be in service in November, the PennEast Pipeline will add approximately one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to the regional marketplace.
PennEast Pipeline is awaiting final federal approval from FERC, though three government regulators under the administrations of former President Barack Obama and Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf have found its construction and operation are safe for the environment. In the meantime, New Jersey residents, businesses and environment are paying the price.