By David Madden

By David Madden

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS) — Public Service Electric and Gas has preliminary approval from the state to begin a three-year program aimed at replacing some of the oldest natural gas pipes still in service in New Jersey.

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The agreement in principle with the state’s Board of Public Utilities will set aside more than $900-million to replace gas lines that are in some cases a century old. PSE&G spokeswoman Brooke Houston.

“At the time the material of choice was cast iron and then later unprotected steel,” according to Brooke Houston, a spokeswoman for PSE&G. ” While the majority of these pipes have served us well over the decades since, it’s time to modernize our system.”

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That means using plastic piping impervious to water.

“We’re going to concentrate on our urban areas because those are the ones that were already established in the early 1900s,” Houston told KYW Newsradio.

Five-hundred miles of mains and 38,000 service lines in 11 counties, including parts of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties, could be replaced.

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Assuming the BPU gives its final blessing to the three year program, 500 people will be employed for the project. Gas users could see their monthly bills slowly rise a total of $4.82 a month over a four year period to pay for it.