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PSE&G’s Energy Strong Upgrades Protect Against Severe Storms

energy strongSix years after Superstorm Sandy’s arrival in New Jersey, PSE&G’s Energy Strong program has meant that nearly half a million more people would keep their power on if a similar hurricane hit today.

Since Sandy, PSE&G’s $1.2 billion of Energy Strong investments have raised and reinforced electric switching and substations, replaced vulnerable natural gas mains and added technology to prevent customers from losing power.

“Many of our electric customers experience faster restoration times today than when Sandy hit. Our electric grid is becoming safer, more reliable and more resilient,” said Jack Bridges, PSE&G’s vice president, electric operations. “Yet, we have a lot more work to do to ensure that the full benefits of Energy Strong reach many more of our customers.”

In June 2018, PSE&G proposed to invest an additional $2.5 billion during the next five years to further strengthen its electric and gas systems to withstand storms, improve reliability and significantly enhance resiliency. The Energy Strong II proposal is with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for review. 

When Sandy hit New Jersey on October 29, 2012, about 90 percent of PSE&G’s 2 million electric customers lost power, most for an extended period. Since then, scientists have predicted that climate change and other factors will continue to pummel New Jersey with storms that bring heavy snow and/or rain and cause damaging flooding – like those that hit this March, May and September.

Under the first phase of Energy Strong (2014 to 2018), PSE&G:

  • Raised, relocated or protected 26 switching and substations that were damaged by water in recent storms, including Sandy, benefiting 490,000 customers.
  • Made additional circuits available to 260 critical facilities (police, fire, hospitals, etc.) to improve resiliency; 412,500 other customers also benefit from this work.
  • Deployed smart grid technologies to better monitor system operations to increase our ability to more swiftly deploy repair teams.
  • Installed smart communications devices at 111 stations that serve 1.4 million customers, allowing for the remote detection of outages.
  • Replaced and modernized 240 miles of low-pressure cast iron gas mains in or near flood areas, removing 90,000 customers from risk of losing gas service due to flooding.
  • Protected five natural gas metering stations and three gas storage facilities affected by Sandy or located in flood zones.

If approved by the NJBPU, Energy Strong II will mean that more customers will experience fewer outages, faster restoration times and other improvements. The program also will create jobs, improve worker safety and add more advanced technology and redundancy to make our systems even more resilient.

Energy Strong II Proposal Highlights:

Electric ~$1.5 billion

  • $428 million to raise and harden 14 stations and eliminate two stations in flood zones
  • $478 million to rebuild 15 outdoor stations, most built before 1956 and in need of replacement
  • $345 million to upgrade 475 miles of circuits, reducing power outages by making them more resistant to tree and limb damage
  • $145 million to upgrade to smart grid technologies to reduce the number of people impacted by an outage (rerouting electricity quickly around problems), enable swifter deployment of repair teams and reduce outage durations
  • $107 million to create an advanced distribution management system -- deploying advanced technology to upgrade and secure vital communications networks

Gas ~$1 billion

  • $863 million to add redundancy to the gas distribution system to ensure more reliable service in the event gas deliveries into New Jersey are curtailed by a supplier.
  • $136 million to modernize seven natural gas metering stations, including two located in flood zones.
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