NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Five years after Superstorm Sandy left millions of New Jerseyans without power, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) has completed strategic infrastructure investments that, in the event of another Sandy-like storm, will keep critical equipment out of floodwaters’ way and the lights on for many.

PSE&G's Essex Switching Station, inundated with water from the Passaic River five years ago during Sandy, has been elevated 8 feet and out of harm's way

Under its $1.2 billion Energy Strong program, PSE&G has raised and reinforced electric substations and switching stations, replaced vulnerable natural gas mains and added technology to prevent critical customers from losing power.

During Superstorm Sandy, 2 million of PSE&G’s 2.2 million electric customers lost power.

«When the Energy Strong upgrades are complete, 490,000 PSE&G customers previously impacted would not lose power from flooding,» said John Latka, senior vice president of electric and gas operations for PSE&G. «And customers who did lose power would be restored more quickly.»

Energy Strong infrastructure projects completed to date include:

  • Raised, eliminated or rebuilt 18 substations or switching stations that flooded during severe weather events. At the end of the program, 26 projects will be in service, including protected and eliminated substations and switching stations.
  • Installed 240 miles of new, sturdy and durable plastic natural gas pipes in flood-prone areas. Approximately 90,000 customers served by those pipes are no longer at risk of losing gas service from floodwaters seeping into these previously leak-prone mains.
  • Created redundancy and installed technology to reduce the number and duration of outages for 260 critical customers, including hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, and police and fire stations. Also benefiting from this work are 412,500 customers and businesses in close proximity to critical customers.

Click here to view video: Sandy: 5 Years Later

In addition to making New Jersey’s energy system stronger, the work is benefiting the state’s economy by creating thousands of jobs over the life of the program.

«Our Energy Strong investments have gone a long way in making our system better able to stand up to severe weather events,» Latka said. «But there is much more to be done. We have aging equipment that needs focused replacement programs, and a need to make the grid smarter, raise more stations in flood prone areas, and protect more customers against weather and gas supply outages.»

Since Sandy, PSE&G raised the Sewaren Switching Station's electrical equipment above new FEMA flood guidelines under the Energy Strong program.

In addition to improving infrastructure, PSE&G has made significant changes to better communicate with customers before, during and after major storms.

«Since Superstorm Sandy, we’ve ramped up proactive and interactive communications with customers, and have more ways for people to stay informed about the status of repairs,» Latka said.

New communication tools include two-way texting, email notifications and an enhanced outage map that provides customers detailed information about power outages in their neighborhood and across PSE&G’s service area. Social media, including Facebook and Twitter, continues to evolve as an important way for the company to communicate with customers.

«We hope to never see the likes of Sandy again, but we feel confident that our investments will ensure that our customers, employees and systems are better ready to weather severe storms in the future,» Latka said.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population.  PSE&G is the winner of the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability.  PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) (NYSE: PEG), a diversified energy company.

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Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is a publicly traded diversified energy company. Its operating subsidiaries are: PSEG Power, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and PSEG Long Island.

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SOURCE PSE&G