PSE&G announced a $3.9 billion planWednesday which the utility said will "proactively protect and strengthen its electric and gas systems against increasingly frequent severe weather conditions" like Hurricane Sandy.
The upgrades will help make PSE&G's easier to restore after storms cause outages and "modernize" its gas distribution, according to a company press release.
The plan includes an upgrade for the Hillsdale substation on Patterson Street, which flooded during Hurricane Irene.
More than 40 installations across New Jersey would be protected as part of the plan, including seven power substations and one gas metering and regulating facility in Bergen County to be "raised or fortified." Besides Hillsdale, the Bergen facilities are located in Garfield, South Hackensack, Hackensack, Little ferry, New Milford, River Edge and East Rutherford.
The plan also calls for 750 miles of low-pressure gas mains to be replaced, deployment of new technology which will show crews where repairs are needed, moving 20 miles of powerlines underground, improved poles and the creation of new redundancies in the system.
According to PSE&G, 2 million of their 2.2 million electric customers lost power during Hurricane Sandy. PSEG chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo said in the press release that Sandy, along with Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm "represent extreme weather patterns that have become commonplace."
"Sandy was a defining event for all of us; the state’s entire energy infrastructure needs to be rethought in light of weather conditions that many predict will continue to occur,” Izzo said.
PSE&G's proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities includes included $2.6 billion over five years, but an additional $1.3 billion and five more years may be needed to complete the entire project.
“The cost of inaction is too high,” Izzo said in the press release. “We have a choice: continue to make incremental improvements and repairs to our electric and gas systems as we have always done. Or, we can be truly forward-looking and make more substantial investments that will help our state be better prepared for the next Irene, Sandy or other catastrophic event.”
The project will have "little overall impact on residential or business customer bills," according to the utility.