Powering new hospital facilities in Bergen County

When the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers first planned round-the-clock construction of two 50-bed facilities to expand COVID-19 and other services for Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, New Jersey, they thought they were making a simple request of PSE&G: Can you run power to the empty parking lot from the main hospital? And, they needed the new facilities up and running within two weeks.

The first phone conversation revealed that the energy required for the new, permanent structures would make this a far more complicated job – yet PSE&G accepted, and met, the challenge.

Meetings were immediately scheduled and when PSE&G arrived on site, tents had been erected, and floors and a sprinkler system were being installed. The magnitude of the work became obvious and several options had to be developed with the engineers, Bergen County and hospital officials and PSE&G Business Customer Solutions – all while practicing physical distancing.

“There were many possible solutions and we agreed the best choice was to deliver 13,000-volt electric service,” said Jose Castellanos, PSE&G Palisades distribution manager in charge of Electric Engineering & Resources. “The project included adding a large transformer and running eight separate sections of 13,000-volt wire to the facilities, in addition to other work with crews from the overhead, underground, operations, meter/inspection and engineering departments coming together in record time to meet the customer’s needs.”

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco said that, despite doubts expressed to him about getting the project done, he stuck to his decision to erect the new facilities because he was confident in PSE&G’s ability to quickly deliver the key component of electric service.

“If I knew there was one utility in the nation that could do this, it was PSE&G,” Tedesco said. “I believed if we all worked together, we could accomplish the task at hand. PSE&G not only met our expectations, they exceeded them! Thank you Public Service!”

Ed Zazzali, PSE&G BCS regional manager, said that all involved reported they were impressed with PSE&G’s professionalism and efficiency.

“The Army Corp of Engineers said building a new facility, with permanent utility service, in a matter of weeks had never been done before, in any part of the world where they were involved, simply because of the push-back from utilities,” Zazzali said. “This was a massive, well-coordinated effort.”

“What typically takes six to eight months to procure and install took a total of eight days, which is unheard of,” said Michael Formanek, medical center facilities director and CEO of Strategic Planning Services LLC. “What happened was a PSE&G miracle!”

Lauren Ugorji, Lead Writer - PSE&G

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