Summer will be here soon, and Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G), New Jersey's largest utility, has made significant infrastructure investments that are in service for the first time this year, ensuring the utility is better prepared than ever to meet customer demand for safe, reliable electricity this summer.
"PSE&G customers are benefiting from the $2.7 billion in electric and gas investments the utility made last year," said John Latka, senior vice president of electric and gas operations at PSE&G. "Equipment has been replaced, facilities upgraded and additional redundancies added system-wide in order to maintain reliability."
Notable projects completed since last summer include:
· Protected, raised or rebuilt four substations and switching stations that were damaged by water in recent storms.
· Installed relays and remote terminal units at 34 substations. This program deploys smart grid technologies to better monitor system operations to increase our ability to more swiftly deploy repair teams.
· Completed 55 projects that address critical facilities, including hospitals, water treatment plants, telecommunications facilities and police stations. This program creates redundancy in the system, reducing outages when damage occurs.
· Replaced 12 aging station transformers in order to maintain electric service reliability for customers in Bergen, Camden, Essex and Union Counties.
· Energized fifteen new 69,000-volt substations and associated lines. The new networks provide increased local transmission supply capacity to customers across our service area, including many living in Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Passaic and Union Counties.
· Invested $35 million in tree trimming last year to prevent tree contacts with energized power lines.
In addition to these electric distribution upgrades, PSE&G is energizing two transmission reliability projects. PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, determined that these reliability projects were needed to maintain reliability by relieving congestion on other regional transmission systems.
Bergen to Linden Corridor Upgrade
Phase 1 of the $1.2 billion Bergen to Linden corridor upgrade will be fully energized and completed on schedule by June 1. This portion represents the upgrade from Ridgefield to Jersey City. When complete in 2018, the 345 kV line will run from Ridgefield to Linden, maintaining reliability by relieving congestion on other regional transmission systems.
Sewaren-Metuchen Conversion Project
The Sewaren-Metuchen 230 kV conversion project, expected to be in service in June, runs from PSE&G switching station in Woodbridge to its switching station in Edison. The project replaces an existing 138 kV transmission line. The new, higher voltage line will eliminate electric system capacity issues in central New Jersey, providing better power quality in the region.
The 2016 forecasted summer peak is 10,090 MW. Last year's peak was 9,579 MW, set on July 20th, and PSE&G's all-time summer peak was 11,108 MW, set on August 2, 2006.
PSE&G expects to have no problem delivering the additional power, but utility crews are at the ready to respond to service interruptions should they occur. The utility's rigorous preparedness program for summer includes conducting employee training, developing emergency summer operating plans, and performing summer peak reliability analysis, helicopter and climbing inspections of transmission circuits, infrared inspections, system reinforcements and transmission line work.
"These significant investments in transmission and distribution facilities – along with our highly trained and skilled workforce – are what keep PSE&G among the most reliable utilities in the nation, year after year," Latka said.