How a building changed my life

Jhakeyda Floyd (center) with her teammates Ed Simpson (left) and Brendon Thomas, who worked with her as contractors on the Safety Watcher team.

I was born and raised in Newark.  In fact, I have lived here my whole life.  For a while, I lived in an apartment building that overlooked an empty lot at the corner of Littleton Avenue and West Market Street in Newark’s West Ward.  A long-closed factory used to be there, and after it was demolished the land remained vacant for a long time.

At the time, I was working three jobs to provide for my two daughters, Keziah and Jaziah, and my son, Zion.  I was a security guard at one of my jobs, and when I noticed that a fence had gone up around the vacant lot and a security guard station had been placed there, I went to see if could get a job as a guard.  I learned that PSE&G was planning to put a new switching station at the site to improve the local electric system.  At first many residents expressed concerns about the plan, but after many meetings with local residents, community groups and elected officials, PSE&G obtained approval to build the new station.

As part of the agreement PSE&G made with the City of Newark, the company and its general contractor on the project, Jingoli & Sons, created a job training program to prepare local residents for jobs in the construction industry.  I am one of the almost 100 Newark residents who were trained under the program, and three years ago I began working as a contractor Safety Watcher at that very station – the Fairmount Heights Switching Station.

A view of the plaza at the Fairmount Heights Switching Station. A colorful mosaic can be seen on the wall in the background.

To prepare me for the job I received many hours of OSHA-approved training in construction job-site safety. My job was to keep a close eye on the workers there to ensure that they were performing their work safely and keeping themselves at safe distances from electric equipment and other hazards.  When I reported to work that first day, the site was just an empty lot in the earliest stages of active construction. At first I was concerned that the predominantly male work force would be reluctant to take instructions from a woman, but as they got to know me and came to understand that I had their safety at heart, they were very accepting. I like to say that when someone pushed back, I would just use my ‘mommy voice.’  It never failed.

Over time, the station began to take shape.  The building that houses the switching equipment went up, the station equipment and electric circuits were installed and the building was placed in service.  Finally, earlier this month a decorative art wall surrounding the building was dedicated at a ceremony attended by PSE&G executives, local residents, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and other officials, and the artists whose works grace the walls.  What had been an eyesore just a few short years ago is now a beautiful building housing a functioning switching station. The West Ward is better for it. Newark is better for it.  And I am better for it.

A portion of the art wall surrounding the Fairmount Heights Switching Station.

My friends on the PSE&G team that managed the project told me that they always get a special feeling of pride and satisfaction when a project they have been working on is finally completed.  Now, having seen this project through from start to finish, I understand exactly what they mean. I will never look at this building without thinking, “I helped build this.”

When I came to work here I was struggling financially and living in a high crime area where I was afraid to take my children out to play.  Thanks to this opportunity, I now own my home in Newark (where else?) and my children can now safely play in their own backyard.

Yes, I helped build that building.  But the building also helped me to build a better life for me and my children.

Our Energy, Our Planet, Our Future

Sust2017_cover_1040x714PSEG is committed to sustainability.

At the forefront of that commitment are certain ideals: social awareness, care for the environment, and an enthusiastic pledge to support our customers and the communities where we do business.

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These values have guided our company for more than a century.

PSEG recently issued its 2017 Sustainability Report – our seventh – which provides an overview of these values, as well as an in-depth look at how the company’s investments in solar energy, energy efficiency and infrastructure projects are improving the reliability and resiliency of our electric and gas systems.

The report also outlines our efforts to reduce environmental impacts and be socially responsible while creating business opportunities and well-paying jobs.

The 2017 report is available at pseg.com/sustainability.

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Our experience demonstrates that it is possible to power the economy, provide good jobs for people and protect the environment – all at the same time.

PSEG’s dedication to social progress is evident in initiatives that occur both inside and outside our organization. Diversity and inclusion are essential to fostering an environment that can help us improve by becoming more closely aligned with the changing faces of our workforce, our customers and our communities. We also maintain a vital role in our communities, supporting educational and charitable programs through the contributions of the PSEG Foundation and our employee volunteers.

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PSEG’s mission, to deliver safe, reliable and economic energy to our 2.5 million electric and gas customers, provides a foundation for economic growth throughout New Jersey and beyond. In doing so, we provide good jobs and work hard to attract and retain quality employees. Together, these efforts help us to deliver a fair return for our investors and build on one of the longest records of paying annual dividends of any U.S. company.

We believe it is our responsibility to work toward a cleaner energy future. To this end, we have invested more than $1.5 billion in the development of solar energy; we have begun to modernize our underground natural gas system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; we are working to sustain the state’s nuclear fleet, which generates more than 90 percent of New Jersey’s non air-polluting electricity; and we are seeking to expand programs that deliver energy and cost savings to every customer through energy efficiency.

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We also have established an ambitious new climate goal: to reduce our carbon footprint by 13 million tons of C02-equivalent emissions by 2030, from 2005 levels.  The reduction is the equivalent of taking 2.8 million cars off the road.

Previously, PSEG established a goal of reducing its GHG emissions by 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. PSEG met that goal in 2011, 14 years ahead of schedule. The company’s new goal is a continuation of its success to further reduce emissions and provide more low-carbon energy.

For more than a century, Public Service has put sustainability – social awareness, economic growth and environmental protection – at the top of our company’s agenda.

By setting high standards, we have established PSEG as a national model in renewable energy, in reliability and resiliency – leadership that positions us to help our business partners meet their own sustainability goals, as well. We know there is still more to do, in order to assure a sustainable future for our state, our environment and our organization.

Sust2017_21_1040x518Making New Jersey and the surrounding communities we serve better places to work and live is central to our mission. We approach that challenge with the help of a skilled, dedicated workforce, with a proud Public Service tradition and with a vision based on safe, reliable, economic and greener energy. Our commitment to sustainability has guided our past, brought us to where we are today and will lead us to tomorrow.

The momentum to modernize


Providing safe, reliable gas service to roughly 1.8 million customers across New Jersey is a big responsibility, and one we take very seriously at PSE&G. That’s why we have undertaken a multi-year program to update older portions of our network of 34,500 miles of underground pipes – enough to circle the earth and then some. About 4,000 miles of that network consist of century-old cast-iron and unprotected steel pipe that is showing its age. Although our service reliability continues to be excellent, we’re not waiting for problems to find us. Continue reading

Spreading love throughout our communities

Over the past 17 years, our dedicated employees have volunteered countless hours spreading love throughout our communities. From services for youth to low-income families to schools, emergency responders, arts and animal rescue, the nonprofits our employees dedicate themselves to are as diverse as the employees who support them.

Check out the video below to learn more about the Recognizing Excellence in Volunteerism Program and meet our 2017 winners.

Now let’s meet our Award of Excellence, $10,000 recipient – the PSEG St. John’s Soup Kitchen Team.

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A 115-year-old company that’s just getting started

“To develop the state of New Jersey and make it a better place to live.”

When Thomas N. McCarter uttered those words after taking the helm of the Public Service Corp. in 1903, he was thinking about how to meet New Jerseyans’ growing need for more modern and efficient sources of heat, light and (at that time) transportation.

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Working together to empower today’s youth

I work in a small high school in Gloucester County, New Jersey, with about 100 students in each grade. As a student assistance counselor, I typically help students with mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse, but I also counsel students who are struggling with sexual orientation. I try my best to connect them with community resources so they have support after graduation. Since my formal training in this area is limited, I’ve been looking for different ways to increase my ability to help these students.

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