SOUTH JERSEY INDUSTRIES, INC.

AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CHARTER

 

 

I.          PURPOSE

 

            The primary function of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities by reviewing: the financial reports and other financial information provided by the Corporation to any governmental body or the public; the Corporation's systems of internal controls regarding finance, accounting, legal compliance and ethics that management and the Board have established; and the Corporation's auditing, accounting and financial reporting processes generally.  Consistent with this function, the Audit Committee should encourage continuous improvement of, and should foster adherence to, the corporation's policies, procedures and practices at all levels.  The Audit Committee's primary duties and responsibilities are to:

 

                                             Serve as an independent and objective party to monitor the Corporation's financial reporting process and internal control system.

 

                                             Review and appraise the audit efforts of the Corporation's independent accountants and internal auditing department.

 

                                             Provide an open avenue of communication among the independent accountants, financial and senior management, the internal auditing department, and the Board of Directors.

 

The Audit Committee will primarily fulfill these responsibilities by carrying out the activities enumerated in Section IV. of this Charter.

 

II.         COMPOSITION                                        

     

            The Audit Committee shall be comprised of three or more directors as determined by the Board, each of whom shall be independent directors as defined by the rules of the New York Stock Exchange, and free from any relationship that, in the opinion of the Board, would interfere with the exercise of his or her independent judgment as a member of the Committee.  All  members of the Committee shall have a working familiarity with basic finance and accounting practices, and at least one member of the Committee shall have accounting or related financial management expertise.  Committee members may enhance their familiarity with finance and accounting by participating in educational programs conducted by the Corporation or an outside consultant.

 

            The members of the Committee shall be elected by the Board at the annual organizational meeting of the Board or until their successors shall be duly elected and qualified. 

 

 

III.        MEETINGS

 

            The Committee shall meet at least three times annually, or more frequently as circumstances dictate.  As part of its job to foster open communication, the Committee should meet at least annually with management, the director of the internal auditing department and the independent accountants in separate executive sessions to discuss any matters that the Committee or each of these groups believe should be discussed privately.  In addition, the Committee or at least its Chair should meet with the independent accountants and management quarterly to review the Corporations financials consistent with IV.4. below.

 

IV.       RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES

 

            To fulfill its responsibilities and duties the Audit Committee shall:

 

Documents/Reports Review

 

1 .        Review and update this Charter periodically, at least annually, as conditions dictate.

 

2.         Review the organization's annual financial statements and any reports or other financial information submitted to any governmental body, or the public, which include any certification, report, opinion, or review rendered by the independent accountants.

 

3.         Review the regular internal reports to management prepared by the internal auditing department and management's response.

 

4.         Review with financial management and the independent accountants the 10-Q prior to its filing or prior to the release of earnings.  The Chair of the Committee may represent the entire Committee for purposes of this review.

 

Independent Accountants

 

5.         Recommend to the Board of Directors the selection of the independent accountants, considering independence and effectiveness and approve the fees and other compensation to be paid to the independent accountants.  On an annual basis, the Committee should review and discuss with the accountants all significant relationships the accountants have with the Corporation to determine the accountants' independence.

 

6.         Review the performance of the independent accountants and approve any proposed discharge of the independent accountants when circumstances warrant.

 

7.         Periodically consult with the independent accountants out of the presence of management about internal controls and the fullness and accuracy of the organization's financial statements.

 

Financial Reporting Processes

 

8.         In consultation with the independent accountants and the internal auditors, review the integrity of the organization's financial reporting processes, both internal and external.

           

9.         Consider the independent accountants' judgments, about the quality and appropriateness of the Corporation's accounting principles as applied in its financial reporting

                                                  

10.        Consider and approve, if appropriate, major changes to the Corporation's auditing and accounting principles and practices as suggested by the independent accountants, management, or the internal auditing department.

 

Process Improvement

 

11.        Establish regular and separate systems of reporting to the Audit Committee by each of management, the independent accountants and the internal auditors regarding any significant judgments made in management's preparation of the financial statements and the view of each as to appropriateness of such judgments.

 

12.        Following completion of the annual audit, review separately with each of management, the independent accountants and the internal auditing department any significant difficulties encountered during the course of the audit, including any restrictions on the scope of work or access to required information.

 

13.        Review any significant disagreement among management and the independent accountants or the internal auditing department in connection with the preparation of the financial statements.

 

14.        Review with the independent accountants, the internal auditing department and management the extent to which changes or improvements in financial or accounting practices, as approved by the Audit Committee, have been implemented. (This review should be conducted at an appropriate time subsequent to implementation of changes or improvements, as decided by the Committee.)

 

Ethical and Legal Compliance

 

15.        Establish, review and update periodically a Code of Ethical Conduct and ensure that management has established a system to enforce this Code.

 

16.        Review management's monitoring of the Corporation's compliance with the organization's Ethical Code, and ensure that management has the proper review system in place to ensure that the Corporation's financial statements, reports and other financial information disseminated to governmental organizations, and the public satisfy legal requirements.

  

17.        Review activities, organizational structure, and qualifications of the internal audit department.

 

18.        Review, with the organization's counsel, legal compliance matters including corporate securities trading policies.

 

19.        Review, with the organization's counsel, any legal matter that could have a significant impact on the organization's financial statements.

 

20.        Perform any other activities consistent with this Charter, the Corporation's By-laws and governing law, as the Committee or the Board deems necessary or appropriate.

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