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ESG 2019 Annual Report

Operations

Safety is Essential to Our Business Operations

We remain committed to conducting business in a manner that protects, and sustains the environment of our customers, employees and neighbors.

Safety & Operations

At SJI, safety is our top priority.

There is no greater responsibility than ensuring every employee gets home safe every day. During 2019 we continued to audit our operations and construction activities, track and report on compliance items and deliver ongoing Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) training.

We are proud to highlight the following resources:

Safety Talking Points
Sent weekly to managers to share helpful and timely safety and health information with their employees

Family Safety & Health
A quarterly magazine featuring information for on and off the job safety

Monthly Safety News
A standing safety section in our monthly employee newsletter, One SJI

Safety Site Visits
An annual visit from company officers at all divisional offices to discuss safety performance and reinforce safety as SJI’s top priority

MySafeWorkplace®
Provide employees with a confidential and anonymous communication resource to voice workplace safety and conduct concerns

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

Motor Vehicle Safety
Introduced a driver scorecard and corresponding metrics and goals

Safety Ergonomics Training
Training and resources offered to all employees to help them learn and implement better workplace ergonomics and reduce risk of injury

Our utilities take an aggressive, proactive approach to maintain safe operations and 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.

These efforts and initiatives contributed to results in 2019 that had South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas recognized by the American Gas Association for Safety Performance.

Pipeline Operations

On a regular basis, to ensure the integrity of our system, we 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 other anomalies. This gathered data is then used to assess the pipeline and determine the need for any repairs.

Additionally, our utilities use a third-party vendor to conduct leak surveys along our transmission pipelines on an annual basis. This survey is conducted using natural gas sensing equipment on both vehicular and walking surveys along the pipelines. This equipment can identify the location and magnitude of a leak, should one be encountered. This data is then used to determine the need for any repairs.

At South Jersey Gas we also use a third-party vendor to conduct leak surveys along our distribution mains on an annual basis and on our distribution services every three years. At Elizabethtown Gas, we conduct leak surveys along our distribution mains in business districts and our unprotected steel and cast iron mains annually and our remaining distribution mains and distribution services every three years. These surveys are conducted using natural gas sensing equipment on both vehicular and walking surveys along the distribution mains and services. This sensing equipment can identify the location and magnitude of a leak should one be encountered. This data is then used to determine the need for any repairs.

The community also plays a critical role in pipeline 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 dig 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. As of the end of 2019, SJI has 238,922 installed across our utilities, representing 43% of the total services in our pipeline system. Based on the EPA’s Natural Gas Star Program Partner Reported Opportunities for Reducing Methane Emissions, the estimated annual methane emission reductions for 160 Mcf per installation of 350 Excess Flow Valves. This equates to a methane emissions reduction of 109,221 Mcf for SJI.

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

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 a significant benefit for 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 also see less greenhouse gas emissions.

Main Removed / Installed in 2019, miles Removed Installed Total Installed - Removed
SJG 148 281 133
ETG 90 95 5
ELK 1 0 -1
Totals 238 376 138

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 2018, our utilities completed comprehensive safety exercises, mimicking various gas leak emergency situations from those caused by a lightning strike to those caused by damage from digging. All our drills involve a comprehensive effort involving many departments including operations, dispatch, safety, government affairs, communications and construction.

We believe these simulation exercises best 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 12,730 potential leak calls
Responded on average within 28.6 minutes
Elizabethtown Gas
Received 11,625 potential leak calls
Responded on average within 25.7 minutes
Elkton Gas
Received 185 potential leak calls
Responded on average within 22.4 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. While the Plant’s liquefier is being upgraded, the facility receives liquid natural gas via tanker truck and stores it. 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.