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NEWLY ELECTED NJR CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES TO INCREASE GAS DEMAND, IMPROVE COMPANY'S COMPETITIVE POSTURE

 NEWLY ELECTED NJR CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES
 TO INCREASE GAS DEMAND, IMPROVE COMPANY'S COMPETITIVE POSTURE
 WALL, N.J., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey Resources Corporation (NYSE: NJR) achieved significant milestones in fiscal 1991 to improve its competitive posture, newly elected Chairman Oliver G. Richard III told stockholders of this natural gas distribution and exploration and commercial real estate development holding company here today.
 But fundamental changes must still be made if NJR is to avoid weather-related financial declines that have occurred in the past three fiscal years, he said.
 "By working with our regulators and customers, we need to change the way we look at our business. We cannot be content to have our financial results rise and fall on the whims of Mother Nature," Richard said at the NJR annual meeting of stockholders. "So we will become intensely focused on new annual markets for natural gas in addition to our traditional home heating business that we serve so well."
 Richard pointed out that a request to increase New Jersey Natural Gas Company (NJNG) base rates by $15.8 million, which is now pending before state regulators, includes a weather-normalization feature.
 This feature would insulate NJNG customers from wide variations in their winter heating bills and eliminate the earnings variability associated with weather, he said.
 Warmer-than-normal weather continued to impact earnings negatively in the first fiscal quarter of 1992, although consolidated earnings increased by 64 percent to $6.8 million, compared with earnings of $4.1 million in the same 1991 fiscal period. Earnings per share were 48 cents in 1992, compared with 30 cents in 1991 when NJNG experienced the warmest first-quarter weather in its history.
 Richard said first-quarter temperatures in 1992 were 15 percent colder than 1991, but still 12 percent warmer than normal, or the 10- year average. If temperatures had been normal, earnings would have been higher by $2.3 million, or 16 cents per share.
 Richard said the utility is looking to achieve a mix of customer demand that will allow for more operational and earnings flexibility on a year-round basis. This includes promoting increased natural gas utilization in electricity generation, vehicle fleet transportation and other industrial applications.
 "If we do this successfully, we can work our assets more efficiently to serve our customers and meet our stockholders' expectations for earnings growth," he said.
 Richard said NJNG was already working on natural gas vehicles for its own fleet, for other fleet operators, for buses and, ultimately, for individual drivers. His own car was recently converted to a bi-fuel capability with a home filling unit.
 "The electric generation market also presents great opportunities for boosting efficient, clean gas sales. We've taken a new, aggressive approach to working with the electric generators in our service territory, elsewhere in New Jersey and wherever synergies with our existing businesses are located. Helping electric companies with their peaks during our non-peak periods will allow a 'win-win' situation for both their and our customers and stockholders.
 "All these new directions will help us get off the weather roller coaster," he said. "Most important, they are all related to our core energy business--the business we know best."
 Richard said that a re-evaluation of the company's strategic focus also extends to NJR's non-utility subsidiaries, NJR Energy Corporation and Commercial Realty & Resources Corp.
 "We're working to manage all our assets with a new sense of urgency, a new direction, from a defensive to an offensive strategy," Richard said. "Challenging ourselves to better utilize our physical, financial and human resources is our goal at New Jersey Resources."
 NEW JERSEY RESOURCES CORPORATION
 Consolidated Financial Results
 Periods ended Three Months Twelve Months
 Dec. 31 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Operating revenues (000) $108,844 $91,666 $352,076 $309,540
 Earnings before preferred
 stock dividends (000) 7,379 4,371 15,367 9,972
 Earnings available for
 common stock (000) 6,762 4,136 13,973 9,027
 Earnings per common share $.48 $.30 $1.01 $.67
 Average shares
 outstanding (000) 14,084 13,599 13,871 13,465
 -0- 1/29/92
 /CONTACT: Laurence M. Downes of New Jersey Resources, 908-938-1483, or Glenn J. Phillips of New Jersey Natural Gas, 908-938-1112/
 (NJR) CO: New Jersey Resources Corporation ST: New Jersey IN: UTI SU: ERN


CK -- NY034 -- 4681 01/29/92 11:16 EST
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Date:Jan 29, 1992
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