Ten Bergen County towns have approved resolutions supporting “Energy Strong” – PSE&G’s proposal to strengthen its electric and gas distribution systems to better withstand powerful storms and natural disasters.
Leaders in Bogota, Cliffside Park, Elmwood Park, Garfield, Hackensack, Hillsdale, Little Ferry, New Milford, River Vale and Tenafly said infrastructure upgrades are necessary to reduce the threat of extended service interruptions like those caused by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.
PSE&G proposes investing $3.9 billion in its distribution system over 10 years to reduce the number and duration of power outages caused by severe weather.
“We are pleased that so many communities have expressed support for our plan to make New Jersey Energy Strong,” said Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G president and chief operating officer. “These municipal leaders know all too well the impact of extended power outages and share our belief that action is needed now to protect utility systems from natural disasters.”
New Milford Mayor Ann Subrizi said the pain and suffering that Irene and Sandy left in their wake made it clear that action must be taken.
“We are pleased that PSE&G wants to safeguard the installations impacted by Irene as well as Sandy,” Subrizi said. “Residents lost power, contents of refrigerators and contact with loved ones. Businesses had to shut down for days on end – losing business they can’t make back. Protecting the New Milford substation against future flooding makes sense, and we urge the BPU to move forward in a thoughtful but speedy fashion so this vital work can get started.”
“This year we will spend about $1.8 billion in electric and gas reliability upgrades,” LaRossa said. “These investments have helped PSE&G earn its reputation as one of the nation’s most reliable electric utilities. But the extremes in weather we’ve experienced the past two years require new, extraordinary measures to reinforce our systems before the next Sandy strikes.”
PSE&G’s proposal includes: protecting more than 40 utility installations that were impacted by storm surges, adding backup distribution lines, making the electric grid smarter to help identify problems and facilitate service restoration, strategically burying some wires underground and modernizing the gas distribution system.
Key provisions of PSE&G’s 10-year plan include:
- $1.7 billion to raise, relocate or protect all switching and substations affected by recent storms as well as those in newly designated flood zones.
- $1.04 billion to replace and modernize 750 miles of low-pressure cast iron gas mains in or near flood areas.
- $454 million to deploy smart grid technologies to better monitor system operations to increase our ability to more swiftly deploy repair teams.
- $215 million to improve pole distribution systems.
- $200 million to create redundancy in the system, reducing outages when damage occurs.
- $140 million to protect nine natural gas metering stations and a liquefied natural gas station affected by Sandy or located in flood zones
- $60 million to move 20 miles of overhead electric distribution lines underground.
“Energy Strong” is currently being evaluated the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.