New Jersey Natural gas could be installing 88 new above ground gas regulators throughout Red Bank and township elected officials are fighting the decision because they claim New Jersey Natural Gas refused to offer any alternatives.

Senator Jennifer Beck, Mayor Pasquale Menna, and other township officials held a press conference on Broad Street, in front of an example of the kind of above ground meters which stand about two feet tall and protrude from the edge of the sidewalk.

Senator Beck says that New Jersey Natural Gas approached them about their intention to relocate the meters from the below ground ones across town due to safety concerns over fear of corrosion and potential failures.

Beck says that while she supports the measures being done in terms of safety, what she is opposed to is the lack of transparency from NJNG. She claims that when asked if any less intrusive option was explored, NJNG told Beck that they considered other methods, but refuse to say which ones.

“And when we inquired if they could share the other options they examined, they insisted they could not and would not share with us any other information.” Says Beck.

What concerns Beck and other officials is the lack of transparency from New Jersey Natural Gas on a decision that could have serious ramifications on the town. She says that though NJNG has said it’s the best option, she doesn’t understand why hasn’t seen these regulators throughout the state or throughout the region.

“My instinct is there are plenty of other options, and I think it is the responsibility of New Jersey Natural Gas to be sharing with us their research and their knowledge about the other options they explored.”

The current installations are nearly twenty years old and have regular three year inspections. Red Bank officials claim that when asked about how many of the 88 below ground regulators were replaced NJNG refused to provide an answer. Furthermore when asked about leaks, Red Bank officials say they weren’t given an exact number, but instead told they did have one leak from a regulator in front of the David Levine Hair Salon on Monmouth Street which was fitted with a new below ground weather tight enclosure.

“New Jersey Natural Gas, which is a monopoly and they can skirt a lot of the processes and unfortunately even municipalities in that process are David versus Goliath.” Says Mayor Menna, adding “the borough has explored the issue completely, we’ve been trying to get answers from New Jersey Natural Gas we’ve been unsuccessful.”

Beck and Mayor Menna have written to the state Board of Public Utilities Officials asking for their support delaying the project until a remedy can be reached and NJNG releases their alternatives.

Additionally Senator Beck says she will submit legislation at the Senate’s March 15th voting session which would direct the Board of Public utilities to require gas utilities planning regulator replacement projects to study less disruptive locations for their devices. The bill would also require gas utilities make findings public and return any disrupted property and infrastructure to its original condition.