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Hillsdale Among 10 Bergen Towns Supporting PSE&G Infrastructure Upgrade

PSE&G has proposed statewide upgrades to its infrastructure to protect against damage from severe weather.

Hillsdale was one of 10 towns in Bergen County and 32 across the state to recently pass resolutions supporting PSE&G's proposed $3.9 billion infrastructure upgrade.

Equipment at the utility's power substation in Hillsdale — which flooded during Hurricane Irene — would be raised as part of the project.

The plan calls for upgrades at more than 40 company sites and the installation of new infrastructure to protect power and gas equipment against severe weather like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

"[T]he extremes in weather we’ve experienced the past two years require new, extraordinary measures to reinforce our systems before the next Sandy strikes,” PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said in a press release.

Borough officials previously said they did not expect the project would affect flooding along the Pascack Brook.

Officials in Bogota, Cliffside Park, Elmwood Park, Garfield, Hackensack, Little Ferry, New Milford, River Vale and Tenafly also supported the plan.

“We are pleased that so many communities have expressed support for our plan to make New Jersey Energy Strong,” LaRossa said. “These municipal leaders know all too well the impact of extended power outages and share our belief that action is needed now to protect utility systems from natural disasters.”

The plan also has its opponents. Five major state lobbying groups — including AARP, New Jersey Citizen Action, the Chemistry Industry Council of New Jersey, the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition, and NJ Public Interest Research Group — have publicly opposed the project. Utility bills would rise significantly, according to the lobbyists.

PSE&G's proposal to the Board of Public Utilities includes $2.6 billion to be spent over five years, but an additional $1.3 billion and five extra years may be needed to complete the entire project. They have disputed the claims that bills would spike as a result of the project.

What do you think of PSE&G's plan? Vote in our poll here.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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