To many, summer is synonymous with beaches and backyard barbeques. To me, and the people at PSE&G who power your homes and businesses, the season also means hot weather and storms that can stress and damage our equipment. Fortunately, because of investments we’re making in our system, we’re more ready than ever to withstand severe weather.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, PSE&G launched Energy Strong, a $1.2 billion program to make our electric and gas systems more resilient against storms. Three years into the work, an independent monitor, Pegasus Global Holdings, reports that PSE&G and Energy Strong are on schedule and on budget.
With the support of the state Board of Public Utilities, Energy Strong has put a significant portion of New Jersey’s electric and gas networks out of reach of floodwaters. Hundreds of thousands of customers are now protected from the impacts of another destructive, Sandy-like storm.
Under the program, we’ve installed 240 miles of new, plastic gas mains in flood-prone areas. Approximately 90,000 customers served by those pipes are no longer at risk of losing gas service from floodwaters seeping into previously leak-prone mains.
When the first phase of Energy Strong is complete in 2019, 430,000 of PSE&G’s 2 million customers who lost power during Sandy won’t lose power again because of flooding, and all 2.2 million PSE&G customers will experience faster restoration times.
We are pleased that state regulators approved this important work. But there is more that needs to be done: more substations to be raised, rebuilt or relocated, and greater resiliency for our poles and wires. While our electric infrastructure has served us well, it is aging and in need of replacement. And, to be sure we can deliver the heat you rely on in the winter, we need to build greater redundancy in our gas supply that comes into our system. This work could commence upon approval by state regulators of the second phase of Energy Strong. The continuation of the work, combined with new technology, will make New Jersey’s energy networks smarter, more reliable and resilient – while also creating thousands of jobs.
PSE&G already is recognized as one of the nation’s most reliable utilities, and our workforce is known to be second to none. Our infrastructure improvements help keep the lights on, even in the face of extreme weather. And if an outage occurs, our customers get their power back nearly twice as fast as the national average.
Energy Strong is helping us make New Jersey’s reliable energy system even better. The work to harden our grid against storms means you can concentrate on your summer fun. And the people at PSE&G will make sure you can keep your cool on even the hottest of days.
John Latka, Senior Vice President Electric & Gas Operations – PSE&G