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ESG 2020 Annual Report

Safety & Operations

At SJI, safety is a core value.

We will never compromise when it comes to conducting business in a manner that protects and sustains the safety and well-being of our customers, employees and the communities we serve.

Safety

At SJI, we make every day a safe day.

There is no greater responsibility than ensuring every employee gets home safe every day. During 2020 we continued to review our operations and construction activities, track and report on compliance items and deliver ongoing Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) training.

Our safety efforts and initiatives in 2020 contributed to results that had South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas achieve 1st Quartile performance among American Gas Association members. In addition, the performance led to recognition by the American Gas Association, which issued both entities “Industry Leader Accident Prevention” safety awards. Combined, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas had a DART rate of 0.68 compared to a rate of 1.31 average from other local distribution companies.

We are proud to highlight the following resources made available to employees:

Safety Talking Points
Members of the Safety Department prepare and distribute communications for leaders to review with their teams. These strategic communications promote safety education, risk reduction, and continuous improvement. Each communication presents a focused topic that incorporates a high-level overview, steps to reduce the risk, and how it applies to the work environment. Topics are selected to meet compliance requirements, reviews of internal and external incidents and near misses, along with general incident prevention.

Family Safety & Health
This is a quarterly magazine featuring information focused on safety for on and off the job. Part of the safety culture improvement plan has been to focus on overall safety for employees while both at work and at home. This magazine is intended to strengthen our culture by reinforcing that safety is not just a benefit at work but for our families as well.

Monthly Safety News
Our monthly employee newsletter, One SJI, includes a standing safety section to celebrate safety successes and milestones, remind employees about key safety learnings and strengthen our safety culture.

MySafeWorkplace®
A confidential and anonymous communication resource for employees to voice workplace safety and conduct concerns.

IT Security Training
A training program for all employees on cybersecurity risks using training modules to protect employees and the organization from potential threats

Motor Vehicle Safety
Company vehicles are equipped with tracking devices which provide telemetric data utilized to calculate driver safety scorecards. A driver’s safety score is developed using key data such as seat belt usage, speeding, harsh cornering, harsh braking, and harsh accelerating. This data is reviewed regularly and used to develop training and communication materials. In 2020, these efforts resulted in driver safety scores improving from 91.67% to 96.2%.

Safety Ergonomics Training
Resources and a training program offered to all employees to help them learn and implement better workplace ergonomics and reduce the risk of injury

Triage Medical Services
Employees have access to a free, confidential support line after experiencing an ache, having pain, or having an incident on the job. This “fast-access” triage process provides early symptom intervention, includes virtual appointments as appropriate, and results in quicker, personalized response.

Our utilities take an aggressive, proactive approach to maintain safe operations. Our company officers make annual visits to all divisional offices to discuss safety performance and reinforce safety as an SJI core value. Our goal remains to minimize risks and promote a zero-injury culture. This comprehensive effort includes infrastructure modernization, as well as ongoing testing and emergency response planning.

Pipeline Operations

To ensure the integrity of our system, we regularly inspect our pipelines throughout the areas we serve

Specifically, our utilities inspect their transmission pipelines using External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA) and Inline Inspection (ILI) technologies. The vast majority of our transmission pipelines are inspected using Inline Inspection, where a device is inserted into and travels through the pipeline. The device gauges and records if there are any signs of dents, corrosion, gouges, metal loss or any other anomalies. This gathered data is then used to assess the pipeline and determine the need for any repairs.  In some instances, pipeline inspections are performed more frequently than required by regulations, allowing us to respond to leaks at an earlier point in time. 

Pipeline Safety Management System
A Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS) is a resource SJI is committed to and are in the process of implementing to improve pipeline safety culture and performance.

Our utilities also use a third-party vendor to conduct leak surveys along our transmission system as follows:
    • Highway and railroad crossings (quarterly)
    • Transmission pipeline surveys (annually)

Additionally, for South Jersey Gas infrastructure, we utilize a combination of internal resources and a third-party vendor to conduct leak surveys on our distribution system as follows:
    • Distribution mains (annually)
    • Distribution services (every 3 calendar years)
    • Business district services (annually)
    • Exposed pipe survey (annually)

For Elizabethtown Gas infrastructure, we utilize a combination of internal resources and a third-party vendor to conduct leak surveys on our distribution system as follows:
    • Distribution mains and services in business districts (annually)
    • Unprotected steel and cast-iron distribution mains (annually)
    • Remaining distribution mains and services (every 3 calendar years)
    • Exposed pipe survey (annually)

All surveys for both utilities are conducted using natural gas sensing equipment on vehicular and walking surveys along the pipelines, distribution mains and distribution services. This equipment can identify the location and potential classification of a leak, should one be encountered. This data is then used to inform the prioritization of repairs.

We understand the importance of pipeline safety to the communities in which we operate, and that our community stakeholders are our partners in ensuring natural gas safety. Accordingly, we strive to educate our community stakeholders about natural gas safety. Through our pipeline safety communications, in accordance with regulatory standards, we communicate not only to customers but also to the entire community we serve. We inform local officials, emergency responders, customers, residents and more of the importance of natural gas safety and safe practices, including how to detect a natural gas leak, how to safely conduct subsurface work and what to do in the event of a natural gas emergency.

Excess Flow Valves

To further support safe pipeline operations, our utilities install Excess Flow Valves on all qualifying new and replacement service lines.

An Excess Flow Valve is a mechanical safety device designed to automatically shut off the flow of natural gas in the event of a service line break or excavation damage. Many of our service lines already have an Excess Flow Valve installed.

Additionally, SJI installs remote control valves on the transmission system to allow for immediate, real-time gas flow shutoff capabilities.

Infrastructure Modernization

Our system improvement efforts across our utilities focus on enhancing the safety, reliability and resiliency of our natural gas systems.

When our systems are safe, reliable and resilient there is significant benefit to our customers and the environment. Our modernized system results in fewer leaks, and our diligent leak tracking and response program ensures timely repairs. With less natural gas escaping our system, we are also making an impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Main Removed / Installed in 2020, miles Removed Installed Total (Installed - Removed)
SJG 94 182 88
ETG 53 93 40
Totals 147 275 128

Tell All

We inform local officials, emergency responders, customers, residents

Tell All We inform local officials, emergency responders, customers, residents

Emergency Response Preparation

At SJI, safety is our top priority.

To keep our customers and communities safe, we must ensure our utility crews are prepared for any emergency. Safety drills are the best way to prepare our dedicated crews.
 
In 2020, our emergency preparedness department completed several comprehensive safety exercises. Employees addressed scenarios simulating various gas leak emergency situations, including an explosion from a gas leak, a vehicle striking a gas meter on a commercial property and a large coastal storm affecting the entire state of New Jersey. All of our comprehensive drills required coordination and cooperation between multiple departments, including operations, dispatch, safety, government affairs, communications and construction.
 
Simulation exercises help prepare our workforce by requiring employees to assess and protect the safety of themselves, their colleagues and our customers while minimizing the impacts to our systems and service. These exercises are part of our continued efforts to enhance response protocols, partner with emergency responders and local officials and improve overall emergency response.
 
We encourage anyone who suspects a natural gas leak in any of our service areas to call our respective utility Gas Leak Hotlines. Through customer and community outreach, we encourage awareness among customers and local residents of our emergency contact information as well as the appropriate way to identify and respond to a potential leak.



South Jersey Gas
Received 11,907 potential gas leak calls
Responded on average within 29 minutes
 
 
Elizabethtown Gas
Received 8,968 potential gas leak calls
Responded on average within 24.9 minutes

 

 

   

Liquified Natural Gas

Our utilities are committed to ensuring that demand for natural gas can be met during peak periods.

For this reason, South Jersey Gas maintains and operates a natural gas Peak-shaving Plant at its McKee City facility. The liquefier at the facility draws natural gas from the existing pipeline system, converts it to liquified natural gas and stores it. When demand is high, this liquified natural gas can be returned to a vapor and injected into the South Jersey Gas system to reinforce supply and stabilize the pressure needed to ensure uninterrupted service.

Elizabethtown Gas maintains and operates a natural gas Satellite Plant at its Erie Street facility for the same purpose – to ensure that demand for natural gas can be met during peak periods. When demand is high, this liquified natural gas can be returned to a vapor and injected into the Elizabethtown Gas system to reinforce supply and stabilize the pressure needed to ensure uninterrupted service.

Cybersecurity

SJI deploys cybersecurity systems using a defense-in-depth approach, continuously assessing, improving and strengthening our external and internal posture to identify and prevent attacks.

Our cybersecurity efforts exemplify the way SJI conducts business in a manner that protects and sustains the safety and security of our customers and employees. We leverage relationships with government and industry peers in several cybersecurity programs to maintain situational awareness of threats and vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis. Additionally, we educate employees regarding cybersecurity using yearly security awareness training, security bulletins and phishing simulations to reinforce training. Across our organization, we also conduct vulnerability scans and penetration testing and work with a third party to perform a yearly baseline assessment of the cyber program that measures improvement and informs our strategy. We also validate recovery procedures and system resiliency to ensure that, if impacted, we can return critical systems to normal operating levels in a timely manner. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework informs our cyber program, and we have a Cyber Risk Committee that consists of senior management responsible for assessing risks, including risks related to our cyber program. At each quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors, an overview of the cybersecurity program and related risks are discussed with the Board of Directors and Audit Committee.