- Public Service Enterprise Group CEO Ralph Izzo repeated his call for New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities to approve its 10-year, $3.9 billion Energy Strong proposal to strengthen infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene. PSEG subsidiary Public Service Electric & Gas first filed the proposal in February 2013.
- New Jersey ratepayer advocate Division of Rate Counsel, AARP New Jersey and a coalition of energy users say it both costs too much, which will drive up rates, and won’t help enough customers. They also question the utility’s insistence on getting funded before construction begins.
- Izzo argued Energy Strong will improve reliability and help prevent massive, disaster-created power outages. He also argued that current low interest rates, available labor, low gas prices, and expiring charges make now the ideal time to do facility hardening. He demanded opponents explain how to do the upgrades more cost-efficiently.
- The first BPU decision, expected by June, will be on the project’s $2.6 billion first five years.
Overall, Energy Strong would:
- raise, relocate or protect 31 electric switching and substations
- replace and modernize 750 miles of low-pressure cast iron gas mains
- add smart grid technologies to speed detection and repair of problems
- improve pole distribution
- increase redundancy to reduce outage occurrence and duration
- bury 20 miles of overhead electric distribution lines
- protect 9 natural gas metering stations and an LNG station.