In a filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the state’s largest utility — Newark, N.J.-based Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) — is seeking approval to spend $698 million in accelerated investments in electric and gas distribution system capital projects. A second filing seeks approval for the company to spend another $190 million to encourage conservation and create green jobs. If approved, the combined initiatives would create nearly 1,700 jobs.

Under the $698 million Capital Infrastructure Investment Program, the utility proposes to spend $406 million in electric system capital improvements. The investment includes $62 million for street light replacement and efficiency improvements at PSE&G facilities.

Among the proposed electric infrastructure investments are the replacement of aged underground cable facilities, network transformers and relays, and the upgrading of overhead wire, cable, and transformers.

An additional project would replace less efficient mercury vapor municipal street lighting with more efficient induction fluorescent lighting and install efficiency improvements at PSE&G’s facilities. These investments will provide employment opportunities for New Jersey contractors, equipment suppliers, retail establishments, and material suppliers as well as lower costs for municipalities.

PSE&G proposes to spend another $190 million during the next two years in an energy-efficiency stimulus initiative that greatly expands an existing program.

The Economic Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program filing was made under New Jersey’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation, which encourages utilities to invest in conservation and energy-efficiency programs as part of its regulated business.

The expanded energy-efficiency initiative offers programs for various targeted customer segments. Subprograms for residential homes and small businesses in Urban Enterprise Zone municipalities, multifamily buildings, hospitals, data centers, and governmental entities provide audits at no cost to identify energy-efficiency measures. Customers could be eligible for incentives toward the installation of the energy-efficiency measures.

Other components of the stimulus include a program that provides funding for new technologies and demonstration projects, and a program to encourage nonresidential customers to reduce energy use through improvements in the operation and maintenance of facilities.