Public Service Electric and Gas still responding to Sandy
Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) is still responding to Superstorm Sandy.
Don't worry, the utility's two million customers that lost power lost power due to damaged switching and substations, damaged poles and electrical equipment, and downed wires are now restored. But PSE&G is responding to Sandy with a program to better protect homes and businesses from storm-related damage and outages while also improving day-to-day reliability.
The utility contends that protections outlined in a filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities would ensure about 800,000 of the two million customers affected by Sandy would have remained with power and restoration times for the remainder would be reduced.
Over the next 10 years, PSE&G proposes the investment of $3.9 billion to protect and strengthen its electric and gas systems against increasingly commonplace and frequent severe weather conditions. PSE&G is asking for initial funding approval of $2.6 billion during the first five years. Some of the improvements will take more than five years to implement, so the utility may seek approval to spend an additional $1.3 billion in the following five years.
The proposed program, "Energy Strong," program would include protecting more than 40 utility installations from storm surges, strengthening distribution lines, making the electric grid smarter, and modernizing the gas distribution system.
More specifically, PSE&G is proposing:
- $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 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.
- $60 million to move 20 miles of overhead electric distribution lines underground.
- $140 million to protect 9 natural gas metering stations and a liquefied natural gas station affected by Sandy or located in flood zones.
The investment in this program will be huge, but failing to act could be catastrophic.
"The cost of inaction is too high," said Ralph Izzo, PSEG chairman and CEO. "We have a choice: continue to make incremental improvements and repairs to our electric and gas systems as we have always done. Or, we can be truly forward-looking and make more substantial investments that will help our state be better prepared for the next Irene, Sandy or other catastrophic event."
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