NJ utility proposes $3.9 billion to protect grid from future megastorms


By: SGN Staff


New Jersey utility Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) is the latest energy provider to take the lessons of Hurricane Sandy and earlier major storms to heart. The utility on Tuesday submitted a proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for $3.9 billion to protect and harden its electric and gas systems  against future megastorms.


The proposal, referred to as "Energy Strong," includes measures to directly protect equipment and systems and smart grid technologies for monitoring systems operations better to more quickly respond to outages.


"It's clear Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the October ice storm in 2011 represent extreme weather patterns that have become commonplace," said PSE&G chairman and CEO. "It's equally clear that how we live and do business is so dependent on energy that any outage is hard to tolerate. Sandy was a defining event for all of us; the state's entire energy infrastructure needs to be rethought in light of weather conditions that many predict will continue to occur."


Sandy was an incredibly hard way for PSE&G and other affected utilities to learn. A National Hurricane Center report released Tuesday said Sandy was the second costliest in U.S. history since 1900, and that the massive storm  caused 72 deaths in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states, certainly the largest number of U.S. deaths attributed to a tropical cyclone outside the southern states since Hurricane Sandy in 1972. The report also put preliminary damage estimates at about $50 billion, with over 650,000 homes demolished or damaged by the storm that left more than 8 million utility customers with no electricity for varying periods of time.