SJI invests time as well as human and financial resources in the communities we serve. We support a variety of local non-profit, commerce and civic organizations that can have a measurable, positive impact.
Our investments during 2018 totaled more than $500,000 in financial support and more than 1,000 hours of employee volunteerism.
Corporate and Employee Giving
Social Investment Program
Our Social Investment Program committed approximately $160,000 to more than 30 community-based non-profit initiatives last year. The Social Investment program enables SJI to enrich the lives of our neighbors, exercise environmental stewardship, advance STEM education and promote healthy living.
First Responders Grant Program
Now in its third year, the South Jersey Gas First Responders Grant Program supports the critical life-saving efforts conducted by first responders. This program assists paid or volunteer fire, emergency medical services and police departments that serve one or more municipalities in our service area. In 2018, South Jersey Gas distributed $21,000 in grants towards new rescue equipment, K-9 officer training, carbon monoxide detectors and natural gas monitoring meters.
Game On Grant Program
Our South Jersey Gas Game On Grant Program provides much-needed support to sustain local, community youth-centered athletic programs, leagues, clubs, associations and recreational organizations. The program distributed $20,000 in grants during 2018 towards new uniforms and equipment. Since the program was founded in 2011, the program has provided $140,000 in local support.
In 2018, SJI continued to support local community programs through the United Way. The annual employee giving campaign raised $105,000 in funds that will support the United Way in its efforts to offer food, shelter, housing assistance and other necessities to our neighbors.
Our efforts to foster a culture of giving among our employees resulted in more than 1,000 hours of volunteerism during 2018 to local causes.
- South Jersey Gas employees volunteered for the Adopt-A-Road program, which required regularly grooming a street in Atlantic County.
- SJI interns partnered with the Community Foodbank of New Jersey to pack 170 food boxes to feed local families.
- SJI employees spent a day supporting Folsom Elementary School’s Junior Achievement Program during which they instructed 126 students about proper money management.
- Elizabethtown Gas employees participated in Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation Sandwich Making to provide summer meals for underprivileged school children.
SJI does more than contribute to the current economy – we work toward a sustainable future economy.
We’re committed to generating long-term value through operations, sustainable investments, mutually-beneficial partnerships and innovative relationships.
During 2018 these efforts included:
- Disbursing more than $76.8 million in base salaries to its 1,100 employees
- Paying in excess of $20 million in federal and state taxes
- Investing more than $500,000 in community support
- Bringing $361.6 million in capital investment to the regions where we operate
- Purchasing more than $55 million of materials, services and equipment from minority-, service-disabled veteran, woman-owned businesses
Investments in Safe, Reliable, Affordable Infrastructure
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved several capital investment programs in the last ten years to modernize the South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas distribution systems. These investments help us to ensure our customers receive the service they expect and deserve.
Accelerated Infrastructure Replacement Program (AIRP)
AIRP, currently in its second phase, targets the replacement of aging cast iron and bare steel South Jersey Gas distribution infrastructure to ensure system reliability, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To date, South Jersey Gas has replaced 618 miles of main and restored 32,700 services. As a result of AIRP and AIRP II, South Jersey Gas expects to replace all remaining bare steel and cast iron in its system by 2021.
Storm Hardening and Reliability Program (SHARP)
Improvements to enhance South Jersey Gas system reliability and resiliency in coastal communities continued last year, following NJPBU approval of a $100 million, second phase of the Storm Hardening and Reliability Program (SHARP). The first phase resulted in the replacement of 92 miles of main and the restoration of 11,090 services. Like the original initiative, SHARP II will further enhance and protect our infrastructure in advance of future significant weather events.
Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP)
The proposed Elizabethtown Gas Infrastructure Investment Program – targeted at replacing vintage cast iron, bare steel, ductile iron, copper and vintage plastic mains and services – was filed with the NJPBU in October 2018. Pending board approval, this $518 million, five-year program will replace approximately 309 miles of main and restore 41,000 services.
Impactful Capital Investments
2018 capital spending for SJI totaled more than $361.6 million.
PennEast Pipeline Project
SJI is a partner in the proposed $1.0+ billion PennEast pipeline project that will provide reliable and low-cost natural gas across New Jersey and Pennsylvania while reducing our region’s reliance on coal and oil. In turn, this critically important investment in our state’s energy future will also protect our environment by reducing air emissions. In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the PennEast pipeline project. A December 2018 ruling from the U.S. District Court of New Jersey allowed PennEast to proceed with survey work that supports the completion and submission of water permit applications to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). We look forward, with our partners, to beginning construction upon receipt of these approvals.
The over $1.0 billion PennEast pipeline project will bring more than 12,150 jobs to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
|PENNEAST PIPELINE PROJECT
South Jersey Gas Headquarters
Last November, more than 200 jobs were secured in southern New Jersey when South Jersey Gas opened its new headquarters as part of the Atlantic City Gateway Project. This investment in Atlantic City, where our first utility originated, re-affirms our role as a driver of economic growth for the region. We’re excited about this state-of-the-art facility representing our first new workspace in more than 33 years. The building also includes the newest South Jersey Gas Customer Service Center, providing local customers with convenient walk-up access to our services.
Our new South Jersey Gas Customer Service center is our sixth customer service center for South Jersey Gas, and our first in Atlantic City and the barrier islands.
SJI drives economic development in our region, creating jobs to support our growing business and strategic initiatives.
- The PennEast pipeline project is expected to bring 12,160 direct and indirect jobs along its route across New Jersey and Pennsylvania
- More than 475 union tradespeople worked to construct our new South Jersey Gas headquarters in Atlantic City which opened last year as part of the city’s Gateway Project
- The South Jersey Gas headquarters in Atlantic City brought more than 200 permanent jobs to the city
- The SHARP II program, to enhance the South Jersey Gas system in coastal communities, will generate 413 jobs throughout its execution
Fostering Strong Supplier Partnerships
To become a leaner, more agile and efficient business, SJI updated its procurement model in 2018 to ensure we are receiving the highest quality services at the best prices. The new model allows us to target the highest impact vendors and business lines, based on spend.
During 2018, our efforts remained focused on improving the way we source and track suppliers – including expanding our partnerships with qualified women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses. We aim to consistently solicit a minimum of one qualified diverse supplier for each request for purchase issued by the business. To ensure vendors and suppliers were acquainted with our procurement practices, SJI hosted and attended events with new and existing suppliers throughout the year.
In 2018 SJI spent:
- $553 million on supplies and services
- $239 million on supplies and services from New Jersey-based companies
- $55 million on supplies and services from minority-, service-disabled veteran-, and woman-owned businesses.
At SJI, our commitment to providing safe, reliable, affordable service while prioritizing customer satisfaction and delivering shareholder value is unwavering.
We’re proud to serve our customers and we’re proud of the work we accomplished in 2018 to maintain our commitment to them:
- For the fourth year in a row Elizabethtown Gas has ranked highest in customer satisfaction for residential gas service among east midsize utilities by J.D. Power and Associates.
- South Jersey Gas ranked third in customer satisfaction for residential gas service among east midsize utilities by J.D. Power and Associates.
- South Jersey Gas introduced a new, modern customer billing statement to more than 385,000 customers.
- Surveyed 12,377 South Jersey Gas customers and improved the percentage of customers that feel valued by 7.7% during 2018, ending the year with a 77.5% valued customer rating.
- Hired 46 new Contact Center Representatives across our utilities to better support our growing customer base.
Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience
Our Customer Experience initiative aims to drive continuous improvement in the service we provide all our customers and the technology we employ to support our Customer Promise:
As your trusted energy provider, we are committed to delivering safe, reliable and consistent service in a timely manner. We will employ professional, well-trained and knowledgeable staff. We will treat you with courtesy and respect. Our commitment to you as a customer is to be there, ready to serve you, when you need us.
Major Customer Experience Initiatives in 2018:
New Business Continuity Site
In 2018, we tested and opened our first business continuity site for our Customer Contact Center and Dispatch operations to ensure continuity of service in the event our utility Customer Contact Center or Dispatch must close unexpectedly.
Enhanced Phone Experience
The Customer Contact Center within our newly constructed South Jersey Gas office features white noise sound machines, designed specifically for call centers to reduce background noise and increase call clarity for customers.
Improved South Jersey Gas Billing Statement
In 2018, we introduced an improved South Jersey Gas Billing Statement, designed using customer feedback. The new bill features changes to the design, organization and content, simplifying the bill to make it clearer and easier to read.
Process Improvement Team
We launched a Process Improvement Team in 2018 comprised of personnel across our Contact Center organization to meet bi-weekly and address customer pain points – each meeting is expected to deliver progress toward cost-effective, time-saving solutions for our customers.
Implemented New Workforce Management Technology
Our utilities employed new workforce management technology in 2018 that allows us to better estimate call volume and prepare accordingly, while monitoring our overall progress toward service level targets designed to drive a positive customer experience.
Introduced Advanced Quality Management
In 2018, we began a comprehensive analysis of our customer service quality control, adopting a new advanced quality management system that allows us to assess both live calls and contact center representatives’ screens as well as historical calls and screens.
In 2018, we expanded customer service training for all South Jersey Gas Customer Service Representatives by implementing MAGIC training. This role-based training helps educate current employees and new hires around their efforts to successfully meet customers’ needs during challenging situations while always maintaining professional courtesy.
Customer Service Center Renovations
Cosmetic, accessibility and service upgrades to our South Jersey Gas Customer Service Centers began in 2018. Renovations continue and, to date, we have added an ADA-compliant entry to our Glassboro office and completed cosmetic renovations to our Cape May office.
We assess opportunities to improve the customer experience, adopting a best of the best approach across our utilities that aligns both our tools and our service deliverables in support of a positive customer experience.
Keeping our Neighbors Warm
Across all our utilities, we partner with providers to promote financial assistance for those in need, with our Customer Outreach Team advocating for programs including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) and NJ SHARES, as well as other grants and relief funds administered by our state and federal agency partners. In 2018, these programs provided 62,251 eligible households we serve with more than $15 million. These programs provide utility bill relief for our customers and neighbors and need – keeping them connected to service to support their heating, hot water and cooking needs.
Industry-Leading Customer Growth
SJI is an industry leader in utility customer growth. To sustain this growth, our talented teams of sales and marketing professionals partner with our operations teams and to support organic and planned new customer acquisitions. From coordinating the timing and density of new service installations to bundling projects, our methods help to reduce our costs as well as customer costs, and increase new customer acquisitions.
|Serves more than 293,000 families and businesses in 86 northern NJ communities.
|Added 2,168 net customers in 2018, representing a growth rate of 0.7%.
|Serves more than 6,000 families and businesses in Elkton, Maryland.
|Lost 36 net customers in 2018, representing a negative growth rate of .54%.
|South Jersey Gas
|Serves more than 391,000 families and businesses in 117 southern NJ communities.
|Added 7,455 net customers in 2018, representing a growth rate of 1.9%.