Our power is reliable, staying on 99.9% of the time for most customers. Still, we’re not satisfied. We’re hard at work making improvements to our distribution systems through the second phase of our Energy Strong program that will protect more customers from lengthy outages.
PSE&G always has taken pride in its reliability; we’ve been named the region’s most reliable electric company for 17 consecutive years. But, Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call. In addition to reliability, we had to improve resiliency and keep the power on during major weather events, leading us to embark on our Energy Strong program. This initiative includes elevating critical electric and gas equipment in flood prone areas and modernizing aging electric and gas stations. We also will be installing stronger poles and wires to resist wind and tree damage, and deploying advanced technology to reduce the number of customers impacted and quicken restoration when there are outages. And, it will help us better meet customer expectations.
In the near future, more customers can expect less frequent outages, faster restoration of outages, and more accurate estimates of restoration times. Technologies that allow photos of storm damage to be uploaded to PSE&G right from a cell phone and that allow different pieces of equipment in the system to “talk” to each other not only enhance the infrastructure but also contribute toward worker and bystander safety.
Since we launched Energy Strong in 2014, 26 electric distribution facilities have been protected. If Superstorm Sandy were to hit New Jersey today, a half a million fewer customers would lose power than in 2012 and most of those who lost electricity would be restored 22% faster. Last year, a major storm hit Mercer County causing widespread flooding but no power outages. More than 4,600 customers kept their power thanks to a new, elevated substation.
Also under Energy Strong, we installed equipment that enables remote detection of circuit outages at 111 stations serving more than 1.4 million customers. Remote outage detection tells us in seconds to minutes what previously took hours to determine.
This next phase of Energy Strong includes projects to mitigate flooding at 16 electric stations, install smart grid technologies on more than 1,100 circuits that serve 1.2 million customers, strengthen approximately 80 miles of power lines and update grid communications.
Starting the work to fortify our state’s infrastructure after Sandy hit New Jersey seven years ago was a responsible and necessary decision. Continuing that work now is just as vital.