OF SEEMA M. SINGH, ESQ.
PRESENTED BY HENRY M. OGDEN, ESQ.
ASSISTANT DEPUTY RATEPAYER ADVOCATE
DIVISION OF THE RATEPAYER ADVOCATE
In the Matter of the Petition of the Petition and Report of New Jersey
Natural Gas Company for Authorization and Approval of the Installation
of a Transmission Pipeline Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 14:7-1.4 et seq.BPU Docket
Colts Neck, New Jersey
May 16, 2006
Good evening. My name is Henry
Ogden, and I am an Assistant Deputy Ratepayer Advocate for the New Jersey
Division of the Ratepayer Advocate. Our office was created by the New
Jersey Legislature to represent ratepayers in cases such as this where
a utility seeks an increase in rates or change in services.
On March 20, 2006,
New Jersey Natural Gas Company (“Company”) filed a Petition with the New
Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“Board”) seeking expedited approval
to construct 29,805 feet of 20-inch transmission pipeline with a maximum
allowable operating pressure of 525 psig in Middletown, Holmdel, Colts
Neck and Marlboro. The Company’s Petition states that to accommodate future
anticipated usage in Monmouth and Ocean counties, existing 10-inch pipe
will be replaced as the third phase of a systematic routine maintenance
program for the pipeline to meet federal pipeline integrity management
requirements. The company is seeking expedited approval to commence construction
in June 2006 to minimize disruptions and to coincide with a county road
reconstruction project. While the petition does not set forth the projected
cost, at some future date the company will presumably seek to recover
this cost from ratepayers.
Our office is analyzing the company’s petition. When these costs are sought
to be recovered from ratepayers, we will conduct a complete and thorough
investigation of any rate increases and any other changes being sought
by the company. The Ratepayer Advocate is fully aware of the recent increases
in energy prices that are having a profound impact on all classes of ratepayers.
The Ratepayer Advocate’s inquiry will focus on the critical issue of whether
the Company’s proposal allows ratepayers to pay the lowest rates possible
consistent with receiving safe, reliable and proper service. However,
it is important that you be aware that the ultimate decision regarding
all utility matters in New Jersey is made by the Board of Public Utilities.
The purpose of this open public hearing is for you, the customer, to voice
your opinion, relate your experiences and offer comments about your Company’s
proposal. It is important that you express your views so they may become
part of the record on which the Board of Public Utilities makes its decision.
The Ratepayer Advocate also needs to hear your views in order to represent
your interests in the legal process. We strongly encourage your participation,
which will help us evaluate the Company’s proposal and prepare for any
This hearing is being transcribed and your comments will become part of
the record. I would like to reiterate the importance of your participation
so that the Ratepayer Advocate can have a clear record of your concerns
On behalf of the Ratepayer Advocate, thank you for attending this public