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PSEG: "Team Proactively Shut Off the Power"

Utility details operations at New Milford substation during flooding

PSE&G posted a press release to their site on Tuesday, explaining the actions they took on Sunday as the Hackensack River rose to nearly 12 feet and submerged the switching station in New Milford on Henley Avenue.

Here is the release in its entirety:

PSE&G’s 20 acre New Milford Switching Station is not without its challenges. The site is located near the Hackensack River in the town of New Milford and is subject to flooding when the river overflows its banks.

During Hurricane Irene the Hackensack River crested at more than 11 feet, the second-highest recorded level and nearly six feet above flood stage. In some areas of the property, the water was more than three feet deep, causing much of the high voltage equipment in the station to become submerged. 

In order to be prepared for such an event, engineers at PSE&G’s Palisades Division developed a contingency plan to ensure continuity of electric service for the 40,000 customers who are supplied from that station.  The plan includes switching the affected distribution circuits to alternate substations and installing mobile transformers in local streets and parking lots in order to keep the lights on.

As the river began to surge and spill onto the station property, the team proactively shut off the power to the station in order to prevent the equipment from failing.  “Our contingency plan minimized equipment damage and allowed us to restore service to the affected customers more expeditiously,” said Hal Izzo, Distribution Manager – Electric Maintenance at Palisades Division. “We worked closely with the municipalities to coordinate our efforts to maintain safe and reliable electric service for our customers.”

As the Hackensack River began to recede, clean up of the switching station and all of its equipment had already started. Crews began the long and tedious process of inspecting, repairing, maintaining and drying out all of the equipment.  Once that is completed, the equipment must be tested before returning it to service.  “Cleaning up a site after a controlled shut down is a better alternative than risking equipment failure by leaving it energized and hoping that it does not catch fire or explode when affected by the water,” said Izzo.

Ann Subrizi August 31, 2011 at 09:33 PM
NOTE TO PSEG- Who did you call in New Milford? We had no idea the power was being cut around 3PM? There was no coordination, as you stated above, with this municipality. I was in touch with the OEM team all day long, and on the ground. I spent all day Monday at Boro Hall, which was closed, answering phones. No calls from PSEG, I can assure you. In the future, please coordinate with us, for real. Mayor Ann Subrizi, New Milford “We worked closely with the municipalities to coordinate our efforts to maintain safe and reliable electric service for our customers.”
Pat September 01, 2011 at 12:34 AM
You tell 'em Madam Mayor.
Sue September 01, 2011 at 02:42 PM
I think it about time they move an electrical substation from a flood plain. There has to be a better site for all, really! Plus I can tell you the blackouts are uneven since I see lights on all around my house the entire storm and after.
Denise September 01, 2011 at 06:43 PM
What came first? The chicken or the egg? The Hackensack River has been around for a long time. Who was the idiot that decided to build an electrical substation next to a river that is known to flood?
Susan Wasserman September 01, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Susan 4.42pm Thursday September 1, 2011 Every time the Hackensack River floods the electrical substation in New Milford it makes me wonder who in their right mind decided to put it there and why is nobody doing anything to relocate it. The time and money PSE&G have to spend after every flood to restore power to New Milford plusthe disruption it causes home and business owners in the town must surely warrant moving it out of a flood zone. It is just common sense to do so!

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