Just when you think it can’t get worse than a snowstorm on Halloween, several critical facilities lose power, including one as a result of a nearby plane crash – or so went the scenario of this year’s preparedness exercise held earlier in June.
More than 150 employees participated in the five-hour exercise to continuously improve PSE&G’s ability to respond to a calamity.
Reminiscent of an actual 2011 storm and held as we count down to the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the drill was in keeping with PSE&G’s commitment to Powering Progress. The exercise simulated a loss of power to 75% or more of our customers due to a severe storm, helping ensure the utility’s ability to respond to emergencies and continue to provide safe, reliable and resilient energy.
“It’s exercises like this that continue to keep the lights on,” said Marco Valdivia, a New Jersey Board of Public Utilities research scientist who observed the undertaking. “This is always a great event to test your inter-operational skills at PSE&G, considering your size in the state.”
The exercise, a hybrid of remote and on-location participants, involved employees who serve in every PSE&G department and represent the thousands who would engage during an actual emergency. Required by the NJBPU, the drill was coordinated by Nancy Harris, Matt Khaled and Dante Pasquale in Emergency Preparedness. Key support organizations, such as Information Technology, Corporate Communications and Regional Public Affairs also participated.
“Having drills like this affords us opportunities to exercise and evaluate our strengths and weaknesses,” said John Latka, senior vice president, Electric Transmission & Distribution. “It’s a good chance for everyone to look at your response plans, make sure they are up to date and evaluate the what-ifs. I’m always so proud of how we come together as a team and battle these things.”
In addition to a summer preparedness checklist and tests of response plans, PSE&G has invested $4.8 billion in infrastructure improvements in the past decade to enhance resiliency and maintain reliability. Thanks to the hard work of our employees and the investments in infrastructure upgrades, PSE&G customers have power more than 99% of the time.