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PSE&G Prepared for 2021 Summer Electric Demand After Spending $2.6 billion on Infrastructure Investments

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Public Service Electric and Gas, New Jersey’s largest utility, is well prepared to meet customer demand for safe, reliable electricity this summer. The utility has made significant infrastructure investments, including more than $1.7 billion in electric projects and approximately $821 million in gas projects since last May.

“Our preparation enables PSE&G customers’ power to stay on more than 99 percent of the time,” said Jack Bridges, PSE&G vice president – electric operations. “Our investments in new infrastructure have helped us remain one of the nation’s most reliable utility companies, bringing significant benefits to PSE&G customers.”

“Each year, we strengthen our distribution system so that fewer customers experience outages and, when they do occur, the duration is shorter,” Bridges said. “One major effort this year involved adding more smart devices across the state to bolster safety, resiliency and reliability.”

PSE&G is also implementing, through December 2023, a number of significant reliability improvements under its $842 million Energy Strong II program. These programs include:

Raising and hardening equipment in 16 stations located in flood zones

Upgrading 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

Storm hardening of certain circuits to reduce power outages by adding measures such as upgraded poles and cables that are more resistant to tree and limb damage

Creating an advanced distribution management system to make the system smarter, improve outage response and upgrade and secure vital communications networks.

For 2021, PSE&G completed the $739 million Metuchen-Trenton-Burlington project, strengthening the electric transmission system between the Metuchen Switching Station and the Burlington Switching Station. Over the course of this project, we modified, upgraded or reconfigured 17 electric stations and 55-miles of overhead transmission circuits.

In addition, PSE&G energized the second and final segment of the $90 million Aldene-Warinanco-Linden project, which upgraded 6 miles of 230kV overhead transmission circuits from the Aldene Station to the Linden VFT Station.

We also continue to expand our growing 69kV network statewide, have completed a number of substation hardening and transformer replacement projects to maintain reliability, and have completed circuit upgrades to improve the reliability of 583 circuits that serve over 725,000 customers across the state.

In addition to the investments in our electric system, our Gas System Modernization Program work will continue throughout the summer in neighborhoods across New Jersey, with details available for customers here. This second phase, known as GSMP II, started in January 2019 and will upgrade up to 875 miles of aging pipes to durable plastic and make other gas infrastructure improvements through 2023. Through May 2021, we have upgraded some 619 miles of mains under GSMP II.

The 2021 forecasted summer peak is 9,871 megawatts. Last year’s peak was 9,557 megawatts, set on July 22, 2020.

PSE&G expects to have no problem delivering additional power, and utility crews are ready to respond to service interruptions should they occur. The utility’s rigorous preparedness program for summer includes: conducting annual hurricane and tropical storm drills; employee training; developing emergency summer operating plans and performing summer peak reliability analysis; helicopter and climbing inspections of transmission circuits; infrared inspections; audits and inventories; equipment repairs and replacements; system reinforcements, and transmission line work. We continually refine our emergency preparedness program to ensure we maintain the highest possible level of reliability for our customers.

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