January 25, 2013
RE: PSE&G Super Storm Sandy Emergency Response Meeting
On Tuesday, January 22, Mayors of municipalities served by Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (PSE&G) met with representatives of PSE&G and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to discuss problems related to outages caused by Super Storm Sandy.
We requested this forum to give local officials an opportunity to offer feedback and share experiences concerning those power outages. This information will be used by PSE&G and municipalities to improve operations in anticipation of future major weather events.
PSE&G President and COO, Mr. Ralph LaRossa, delivered a presentation, which included discussions of pre-Sandy preparation, the impact of the storm itself on the PSE&G electric and gas systems, including the effects of the tidal surge on critical electric infrastructure, and the impact of the sustained winds that followed the tidal surge.
Mr. LaRossa also discussed suggestions for strengthening our infrastructure for future weather events including:
- Protecting substations in coastal areas and along rivers;
- Evaluating options to build additional redundancy into the distribution system;
- Evaluating tree trimming programs to be more aggressive with trees near power lines;
- Working with municipal leaders to see if we can move utility poles and electric lines that run through backyards to the curb;
- Continuing to reinforce our transmission infrastructure around the state;
- Analyzing the effectiveness, costs to determine if it might make sense to bury some overhead lines to increase reliability; and
- Evaluating a two way communication system to identify service outages.
Trish Caliguire, Chief Counsel to the BPU, discussed the extensive review of the electric providers that the BPU commissioned following Hurricane Irene and the Halloween Snowstorm. During her presentation she mentioned that the BPU would be issuing the findings from that review on Wednesday, January 23, many of which would address issues raised at the meeting. (See our January 24 letter concerning the BPU Order at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2013-0124-BPU.html.)
We thank Mr. LaRossa and his staff, as well as BPU President Bob Hanna and his staff, for their willingness to meet and work with local Mayors to improve service and communications in the future.
As we indicated at the forum, we will meet with PSE&G and BPU representatives to follow up to ensure progress and timelines to implement these proposals.
We will continue our efforts to assist in addressing the needs and comments of our Mayors, and will continue to keep you apprised of progress and opportunities.
Very truly yours,
|Janice S. Mironov, President
New Jersey State League of Municipalities,
Mayor, East Windsor Township
Timothy C. McDonough
Mayor, Hope Township