Summer Tropical Storms: Restoring and Rebuilding

Aug. 30, 2021
Heavy rains and high winds recently hit PSE&G's service territory. Here's a look at the damage and restoration.

Two tropical storms--namely Elsa and Henri--flooded the service territory of Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G), New Jersey's largest utility, this summer.

The company had more than 1,200 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other utility personnel dedicated to the restoration effort following Elsa. Heavy rains and strong winds brought down large trees, branches and wires across New Jersey. 

A month later, the utility was hit with Hurricane Henri. The utility, which prepares year-round for storm response, was prepared to handle the storm. had crews ready to respond. While Henri passed mostly east of New Jersey, PSE&G still experienced heavy rain and localized flooding from the tropical storm. 

"Based on the latest track of Hurricane Henri, we expect high winds that can cause flying debris, and bring down trees and power lines as well as the potential for flooding in coastal areas,” said PSE&G Vice President, Electric Operations Jack Bridges in advance of the storm

PSE&G, the largest utility in New Jersey, is now keeping a close eye on Hurricane Ida. After causing a million outages in Louisiana, the hurricane is expected to bring heavy rains to the state later this week. 

"We are looking at another major rain event," says Ed Gray, director of transmission and distribution engineering for PSE&G. "The ground is already saturated, and more rain won't make it any better. We are hoping for some dry days and warmth before we get any wind. Most of the wind, however, should die down by then, but we may have a rough day or two."

As of Aug. 31, PSE&G said it was ready for the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida. The storm was forecasted to bring heavy rain, isolated thunderstorms and potentially gusty winds to the service area on Sept. 1 and 2. In response, employees were performing system checks and prepping for any potential outages.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Louisiana and surrounding states that were struck by Category 4 Hurricane Ida. Since Ida has weakened substantially yet we’re closely monitoring the weather and preparing for heavy rain and potential flooding,” Bridges says. “We are staffed and ready to respond to issues as they arise."

On Sept. 2, PSE&G reported that Ida brought an unprecedented amount of rain, causing extreme flooding conditions in its service territory.  In turn, the utility dispatched gas crews to the hardest-hit areas to shut off natural gas and prevent gas emergencies. Also, more than 1,200 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other utility personnel were dedicated to the restoration effort. 

“We continue to work as safely and quickly as possible to address the many challenging conditions caused by Tropical Storm Ida and we understand how difficult this situation is for everyone,” Bridges says. “The safety of our employees and customers remains our highest priority and our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been impacted by this storm.”

The following photo gallery shows the line crews in action restoring power following this summer's tropical storms. For more information on the damage and restoration and PSE&G's resiliency plan, look for a feature article in T&D World magazine. 

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