How PSEG Long Island Prepares
PSEG Long Island is committed to delivering its customers a “best in class” storm response. We continually focus on enhancing our Storm Response Plan and go to great lengths to ensure that we can respond in a safe and effective manner should a storm hit. PSEG Long Island is proud of the reliability of the electric system on Long Island which continually ranks among the most reliable in New York State. At the same time, we recognize the importance that electricity plays in the lives of our customers and therefore understand the need to be prepared to quickly restore electricity when storms cause power outages. Here are just a few ways we prepare:
Storm preparation is an ongoing effort. To ensure we’re prepared for any emergency, whenever it might occur, we:
- Assign all PSEG Long Island employees a Storm Response role and continually train them so that they are well prepared to perform their storm support function.
- Conduct emergency/storm response drills throughout the year which allow us to exercise our emergency response plans and procedures with our employees, local municipalities and supporting first response organizations.
- Educate customers on storm preparedness, including actions they can take to prepare and the different methods available to stay connected with us during and after a storm.
Tracking a Storm
- Long before a major storm sweeps across Long Island and the Rockaways, we are busy tracking its progress. To collect and interpret the vast quantity of information needed to forecast storm movement, we contract with independent weather forecasters and the National Weather Service.
- By using both private weather forecasters and publicly available information we are able to closely follow the progress of hurricanes and other major storms.
- We also have access to a Lightning Detection Network which allows our system operators to scan lightning activity on the entire East Coast, or zoom in on Long Island.
- We participate in meetings and conference calls with our County, State and NYC emergency management offices to share information on predicted weather and anticipated impacts to Long Island.
Large Storms Often Impact the Tri-State Region
In the case of major storms, preparations start several days in advance of the storm reaching our service territory. We put our employees, equipment vendors and neighboring utilities on alert to ensure that enough manpower and inventory is available to handle storm-related repairs.
- Large storms, such as hurricanes, can impact the entire east coast of the United States – making the ability to secure the necessary help from off-island resources much more challenging.
- Neighboring utilities often cannot release crews if they are looking for help, too.
- To help us, crews from outside our service territory must travel long distances in their work vehicles, including large bucket trucks. This can take time. For Superstorm Sandy, crews from as far away as California, Texas and Canada came to Long Island to assist with restoration efforts.
Before the Storm Hits
- Enhanced communications efforts begin, including informing customers how they can prepare, working closely with media outlets to convey important.
- E-mail, text and social media communication lines are opened to communicate with customers and key stakeholders.
- Logistics personnel check to ensure the proper inventory of key materials such as poles, wire and transformers and arrange for movement of materials and manpower across Long Island. Additionally, sleeping arrangements and meals are arranged for arriving support crews and staging areas are opened up to receive them on to Long Island. Operations personnel secure key assets on the electric system, protecting substations in low lying areas with protective barriers and ensuring the system is best prepared for the impending weather
- Regular calls are initiated with public officials and emergency response organizations to discuss storm projections, communicate response plans and coordinate activities
- Checklists, phone numbers and points of contact are reviewed and shared with appropriate personnel across the organization.
Preventing Power Outages
Compared to other New York State overhead utilities, our transmission and distribution system consistently ranks among the best in service reliability and speed of power restoration. Our goal is to further reduce the number and length of outages through a comprehensive capital construction program and aggressive service improvement and maintenance plan.
- Line Clearance: Keeping tree limbs away from electric wires is our most effective method of reducing outages. We trim trees along more than 2,000 miles of electric lines annually and have taken steps to increase the area of our trim zones. We also proactively remove diseased or decaying “hazard trees” that are close to our lines to prevent them from falling into our lines and causing power outages during storms
- Storm Hardening of Key Equipment: Utilizing $729 million of FEMA funding to raise key substation equipment in low lying areas, install additional flood barriers and flood detection equipment and further strengthen our distribution lines through the installation of stronger poles, shorter cross arms and upgraded conductors
- Radio-Controlled Switches: We are significantly increasing the number of remotely controlled switches on our system which allow us to isolate electric line problems without dispatching a field crew, reducing the number of customers affected by the outage and enabling our operators to restore service faster. Equipment Improvements: We’re upgrading lightning arresters, redoing wire splices on our poles using new equipment, and installing guards to prevent animals from contacting high-voltage connections.
- Reconductoring Wire: We’re replacing old wire with new wire that has a resistant plastic covering for use in heavily wooded areas.
- Infrared Scanning: Through helicopter and vehicle surveys, we’re using infrared equipment to detect potential trouble spots before they can cause power outages. Approximately 6,000 miles of line are surveyed annually.