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Gov. Christie Highlights PSE&G Post-Sandy Investments to Improve Reliability with Visit to Hackensack


file photo by Boyd Loving

$1.2 billion infrastructure upgrades are making New Jersey Energy Strong

October 29,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa at a Hackensack substation to highlight the infrastructure investments made since Superstorm Sandy left millions of people without power in the state four years ago tomorrow. Two-thirds of the equipment at the substation, which flooded during Sandy, has been raised 4.5 feet, and the remaining switchgear will be raised in the spring, ensuring more reliable service during future storms.

“Sandy was the second-worst natural disaster in American history that shook the lives of just about everyone,” Governor Christie said. “Unseen before in modern New Jersey, this superstorm interrupted 71 percent of New Jersey’s electric distribution system, cut power for 2.8 million residential and commercial customers and taught us difficult lessons about energy reliability and utility infrastructure. Over the last four years, under my administration, PSE&G has made significant progress raising and rebuilding switching and substations like Hackensack, as well as making other improvements, to increase the resiliency of New Jersey’s infrastructure and create a distribution grid that is far stronger and smarter than before.”

During Sandy, 2 million of PSE&G’s 2.2 million electric customers lost power. “Hackensack is one of 29 switching and substations that are being raised or rebuilt to make them more resilient against storms,” LaRossa said. “Because of our infrastructure investments to date, if a Sandy-like storm were to occur today, about 225,000 customers impacted by flooded substations and switching stations during Sandy would not lose power. And customers who did lose power would be restored more quickly. We appreciate the support of the Governor and the BPU in getting this program started.”

LaRossa added, “This work is also benefitting New Jersey’s economy by creating thousands of jobs over the life of the program.”

The newly fortified stations are part of PSE&G’s $1.2 billion, multi-year Energy Strong program to make its infrastructure more reliable and resilient to severe weather. When the Energy Strong upgrades are complete, 460,000 PSE&G customers previously impacted would not lose power from flooding and all PSE&G electric customers would experience faster restoration times.

“When our Energy Strong program is complete, more than 250 hospitals and other critical customers who lost power during Sandy would either stay in service or have their restoration time greatly reduced,” said LaRossa.

Since Superstorm Sandy, PSE&G has invested $74 million in technology to reduce the number and duration of outages for hospitals and other critical customers. For example, when the Somerset Medical Center in Somerville experienced an outage during bad weather last year, the new technology enabled technicians to remotely switch them back into service in just 10 minutes – one-fifth of the time it would have taken without the upgrade. Also benefiting from this work are 400,000 customers and businesses in close proximity to critical customers where the technology has been installed.

In addition to Energy Strong electric upgrades, PSE&G has made great strides ensuring a more reliable and resilient natural gas system during flooding. The utility has 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. In addition, the danger of leaks of methane gas has been virtually eliminated in the new pipes.

The Energy Strong programs also provide the capability to remotely restore large numbers of customers. The program gives PSE&G the ability to remotely make changes on the circuits so they can be worked safely in the field, significantly improving crew productivity and restoration times.

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Bridgegate witness says Cuomo and Christie discussed cover story


By Ryan Hutchins

10/04/16 12:03 PM EDT

NEWARK, N.J. — Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie personally discussed how to handle the fallout from the George Washington Bridge lane closures, even agreeing to release a report covering up the incident, according to the admitted mastermind of the political revenge scheme.

Cuomo’s administration — referred to in testimony as “Albany” — told the top official at the bistate Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to “lay off” Christie following the incident, former Port official David Wildstein testified here in U.S. District Court.

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Gov. Christie On Train Crash: Don’t Jump To Conclusions, Let Facts Lead You To The Proper Conclusion

Hoboken Train Station Crash

September 30,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, full transcript of Governor Christie addressing yesterdays train crash in Hoboken.

Governor Christie: “ Good afternoon. I’m pleased to be joined here today by Lieutenant Governor Guadagno, by my partner in New York, Governor Cuomo. Governor Cuomo and I have just taken a tour of the damage inside. Obviously an extraordinary tragedy. We pray for the family of the one fatality that we have confirmed for her and for her family. We now have a revised total of injured. We have 108 injured in this accident and all of those have been evacuated to local hospitals, where they’re receiving the care they need. We pray for their recovery. The engineer who was operating the train was also critically injured. He is at a local hospital and cooperating with law enforcement officials in the investigation. What we know is that this train came in at a high rate of speed into the station and crashed through all of the barriers bringing it right to the interior wall of the Hoboken Terminal. Extraordinary reaction from local law enforcement and EMS along with civilian passengers, who assisted EMS, and local police and State Police in evacuating the trains as quickly as possible and helping with the triage of the passengers who were injured and getting them immediately to local hospitals for them to receive health care. There will be others who will speak today about some of the specifics, Commissioner Hammer, Mr. Prendergast from the MTA, about the specifics of commuting both this afternoon and tomorrow. We won’t address that specifically. Both Governor Cuomo and I come from a law enforcement background, as does the Lieutenant Governor. My admonition when I was U.S. Attorney all the time to my prosecutors and agents was, don’t jump to conclusions, let the facts lead you to the proper conclusions, and so we’re not going to speculate about the cause of the accident. It is that we’re in the midst of an investigation. I was called by the White House today as well. They have not only dispatched the NTSB and the Federal Railway Administration but also have pledged any resources that we need additionally to deal with the victims or to deal with what’s happened here at the Hoboken Terminal. We were pleased to get that call. As I said to a number of you earlier today, from the time that the incident happened this morning, Governor Cuomo and I have been in communication since the train began its journey today in the state of New York and we have a number of New York citizens who were on that train as well coming here to New Jersey, and so we’re going to work together to make sure that the investigation is seamless and coordinated, that we come to a conclusion as quickly as possible and then if there are steps that need to be taken thereafter to provide for even greater assurance of safety for the people of our states, you can be assured that we’ll work together through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, MTA and New Jersey Transit to make sure that that occurs. And so we again, we pray for the victims and their families. We are on the scene. We’re going to continue to monitor what’s going on. We have engineers that are examining the structural integrity of the building now. We have no estimate as to when the terminal will be able to be reopened, except to say that it appears that the PATH terminal, the structural integrity there is fine and so that PATH trains will be able to use the terminal. As for the New Jersey Transit portion, we don’t have an estimate yet on that and we’re going to need some time to do that, so I want to turn this over to Governor Cuomo. We will also have Commissioner Hammer and MTA director Prendergast to make some comments and then Governor Cuomo, and I will come back to take on-topic questions.”

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Gov. Christie vetoes ammo limit law in favor of expanded mental health treatment


Gov. Christie vetoes ammo limit law in favor of expanded mental health treatment

The existing magazine limit in New Jersey is 15 bullets, one of ten states with some restriction on magazine capacity.

In his veto message, Christie replaced that restriction with recommendations for expanded mental health services, echoing the findings in a 2013 report from his NJ SAFE Task Force. Convened after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the task force investigated the relationship between gun control, urban violence, mental illness, substance abuse, violence in the media, and school security.

Recommendations include changing what it takes to force someone into mental health treatment, whether inpatient and outpatient. They also suggested how to limit gun sales to people who have been committed.  Training first-responders on mental health issues and crisis de-escalation was also suggested.

A spokesman for Gov. Christie declined to discuss the conditional veto, only forwarding Christie’s message to the legislature.

Phil Lubitz, associate director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Jersey, says the governor’s plan improves existing laws by getting people with serious mental into treatment earlier. “It’s the hope of advocates that the law would allow for early intervention so that they would not need hospitalization prior to imposing involuntary treatment,” said Lubitz.