As the fourth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy nears, PSEG Long Island continues to make significant improvements to its transmission and distribution infrastructure, and communications and technology systems in order to better serve its customers.
"Following Superstorm Sandy, the utility began extensive planning and engineering to help make the energy grid serving our customers across Long Island and in the Rockaways more reliable and more resilient," said David Daly, president and COO, PSEG Long Island. "We learn a great deal from every storm and continue to make the enhancements needed, from investments to the infrastructure to increasing the number of ways we communicate with our customers to our enhanced emergency response training, we are working to ensure that our customers, employees and systems are better ready to weather severe storms in the future."
From a more aggressive tree trimming program, to upgrades and storm hardening of vulnerable substations and electric lines, and an enhanced circuit and equipment inspection program, PSEG Long Island has made and continues to make extensive improvements to ensure safe and reliable service for our customers across Long Island and in the Rockaways.
Local Reliability Projects
In March 2015, PSEG Long Island announced more than $729 million of federal recovery funds were secured via an agreement between Governor Cuomo and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program. This agreement provided the funding to embark on a reliability and resiliency project to further strengthen key electric circuits, improving the reliability of the energy grid for local customers.
Since funding was secured, storm hardening and reliability work has started on more than 75 circuits, covering more than 160 miles, from the Rockaways to Southold. FEMA reliability work is planned for more than 300 circuits, which will cover 1,025 miles across the service territory.
Improvements include upgrading poles to withstand winds up to 135 mph, installing stronger and more resistant wires, tree trim to clear conductors and reduce the risk of damage to equipment and installing switching equipment to help reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.
Substation and Infrastructure Upgrades
Flooding from Superstorm Sandy caused extensive damage to several substations across the service territory. In order to ensure that substations are better able to withstand extreme weather and potential flooding, the utility identified 14 projects at ten substations, including Arverne, Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway, Woodmere, Barrett, Park Place and Long Beach that needed storm hardening. Work has already been completed on six of the substations and work is currently in-progress on the final four. Work includes elevating foundations, repairing and/or replacing critical equipment and installing flood sensors and flood prevention barriers.
Additionally, storm hardening work is being done on transmission lines and distribution circuits. Approximately nine transmission lines are being rebuilt and strengthened to minimize interruptions, including reconstructing lines in inaccessible areas and many distribution lines are being upgraded and cleared of vegetation.
PSEG Long Island has also enhanced its vegetation management program. The utility has implemented industry best practices designed to reduce tree-related outages, increase reliability and improve customer satisfaction.
Vegetation-related outages have decreased, with PSEG Long Island achieving a significant improvement in transmission reliability. The utility hasn't seen a tree-related outage on the entire transmission system in two years and there has been a 60 percent improvement in distribution reliability for circuits trimmed.
The utility uses historical data to forecast and prioritize areas which may be impacted by vegetation outages the most and examines tree-trim cycles to determine where growth may be significant and require additional trimming before an outage occurs. For increased reliability, crews create a greater clearance around trees and distribution power lines, pruning to 12 feet above, 8 feet to the side, and 10 feet below high voltage lines. Annual aerial inspections of the transmission system also help detect equipment issues and vegetation encroachment.
PSEG Long Island's top priority is always the safety of its customers and crews. Along with PSEG Long Island's own resources and tips to be prepared, customers can also take advantage of several resources available through its partnerships.
BereadyLI.org is a collaboration between The United Way of Long Island, 2-1-1 Long Island and PSEG Long Island. Aimed at helping Long Island residents prepare for disasters, bereadyLI.org is an interactive, comprehensive and easy-to-use website, compiling critical information applicable to children, the elderly, those with special needs and even pets in an effort to simplify the process of being prepped before disaster strikes. By working with experts in the field, the site compiles the most relevant and crucial information for residents to prepare for whatever Mother Nature brings our way. For more information, visit www.bereadyli.org.
To help parents teach children to prepare for emergency events, the PSEG Foundation partnered with Sesame Workshop to develop the Let's Get Ready and Here for Each Other apps. Let's Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies helps adults explain to young children various ways they can be physically and emotionally prepared for an emergency. Here for Each Other: Helping Families After Emergencies helps adults and children cope with disasters. These resources provide ways to talk as a family about what happened, while remaining hopeful for better things to come. With this information families can create a comfortable and caring environment, no matter where they are, even when they are not surrounded by their familiar things.