As Labor Day approaches, PSE&G reports that it continues to create thousands of jobs as it invests more than $10 billion to improve the state's energy infrastructure, through projects to make its electric and gas systems more reliable and resilient.
PSE&G is ready to do more. Its proposal to modernize its gas distribution network is before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The Gas System Modernization Program calls for investing another $1.6 billion over the next five years to update 800 miles of low-pressure gas lines and would create 500 jobs. PSE&G is currently completing work to install 250 miles of modern high-pressure gas pipes as part of its Energy Strong program.
"Replacing cast iron and unprotected steel lines with new high-pressure pipe improves reliability and reduces environmental impacts," said Jorge Cardenas, PSE&G's Vice President of Asset Management and Centralized Services. "There is widespread support for making these improvements; our proposal would accelerate the improvements in an economic manner. It would bring continuity to the program and the workforce, avoiding the costs of scaling down and then later having to scale back up."
The company's electric transmission upgrades alone are creating an average 6,000 jobs a year, for 10 years, according to a study by Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. For context, New Jersey netted 29,000 jobs in 2014.
In addition to its transmission work, PSE&G's Energy Strong program is creating 2,000 jobs while protecting 29 electric facilities that were impacted by Hurricane Irene or Superstorm Sandy. The utility is raising, relocating or protecting stations that were damaged by water, as well as deploying smart grid technologies and creating redundancy in the system to reduce outages when damage occurs. The program is also replacing and modernizing 250 miles of gas pipes in flood-prone areas. Installing modern high-pressure lines to replace older, low-pressure lines greatly improves reliability by keeping water out during storms.
"These improvements will make our distribution systems more reliable and help ensure, that whether we are at home or work, the lights stay on and we are warm in the winter and cool in the summer," Cardenas said.
New Power Plant Being Built
PSEG Power recently announced that it will be building a new combined cycle power plant on its Sewaren Generating Station site in Woodbridge, New Jersey. The plant, which represents an investment of more than $600 million, will be built primarily by union labor and is expected to generate approximately 350 jobs during the two-year construction phase. The plant will also employ up to 28 full-time workers once it becomes operational.
Overall PSEG Hiring Up 30% Year To Date
Beyond the thousands of people hired by PSE&G contractors, PSEG has also been adding to its workforce.
"Through July, we've added more than 800 New Jersey-based employees this year," said Margaret Pego, PSEG's Senior Vice President – Human Resources. "That's a 30 percent increase over the first seven months of 2014. We have been able to give full-time opportunities to people with a wide range of skills, from engineers and accountants to meter readers and administrators."
Investing in infrastructure improvements has a powerful and positive impact on our state's economy. Beyond the thousands of people to work on the projects, it increases demand for suppliers and contractors, as well as businesses that serve those workforces. More reliable and resilient energy distribution systems make New Jersey more attractive to new companies and helps retain existing businesses.