NJ utilities are upgrading thousands of miles of old natural gas lines
PSE&G has proposed another round of modernization and upgrades of its natural gas infrastructure.
They seek State Board of Public Utilities permission for phase two of the $2.7 billion dollar. President Ralph LaRossa says the timing is right to replace old cast iron and unprotected gas mains and piping.
"Nothing last forever. The age of some of our cast iron mains is approaching 80 or 90 years old, if not more in some different locations."
The company has almost 4,000 miles of cast iron pipes in total, and that is more than any other utility in the nation. They hope to completely replace that infrastructure in 20 years using newer, plastic pipes.
LaRossa says the gas line replacement will not only improve the integrity of natural gas delivery, it will also mean work for their unions.
"So there is some certainty for us, for our contractors and for the workers."
"You just look around at the construction workers who are involved. We use all union labor. So the union is the operating engineers' union, and they are really being tapped, and we are glad to say that in many cases they are actually emptying out some of those union halls with the work that we have got."
Other Jersey gas utilities have also been replacing their old, cast iron piping with more modern and reliable upgrades. Elizabethtown Gas says they have invested $550 million in their infrastructure since 2004. And New Jersey Natural Gas has been replacing 62 miles of cast iron pipe and 214 miles of unprotected steel mains since 2012.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5
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