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Support Builds for PSE&G’s Plan to Make New Jersey “Energy Strong"
Backers include 54 municipalities, five counties, 22 large electric customers, plus business groups and labor unions
(July 15, 2013 – Newark, NJ) – Support is growing for PSE&G’s “Energy Strong” proposal, a plan to harden New Jersey’s energy infrastructure in the face of progressively extreme weather. Fifty-four towns have adopted resolutions supporting the utility’s plan as well as Bergen, Hudson, Mercer, Passaic and Somerset Counties. There is also increasingly broad support among industry, labor, business groups, hospitals and senior communities.
PSE&G developed its Energy Strong plan in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a historic weather event that caused unprecedented damage and disruption to essential services in New Jersey.
“While an analysis by the Associated Press showed that power was restored more quickly in New Jersey than in surrounding states, the fact is that more than 1.9 million of our customers lost power during Sandy -- some for as long as two weeks -- as waterlogged systems were repaired and replaced,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G. “With Sandy, Irene and the 2011 October snowstorm, we had three of the most damaging storms in our company’s history in quick succession. It was clear that we needed to do something extraordinary.”
Energy Strong would invest $3.9 billion over 10 years to protect switching and substations from water damage, reinforce utility poles and overhead wires, deploy smart grid technology to reduce the likelihood and duration of outages, and replace gas lines in flood-prone areas.
It has garnered support from a broad range of interested parties including:
- Leading Business Groups: the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Action, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, Mid-Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Newark Regional Business Partnership, New Jersey Concrete & Aggregate Association, Somerset County Business Partnership, South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Southern New Jersey Development Council, and Union Township Chamber of Commerce.
- New Jersey Businesses: Burger Stop International, Camden Iron and Metal, Corrib Biofuels, Gellert Global Group, Jordache Enterprises, Okonite Company, River Terminal Logistics, Sea Box, Seajet Warehousing & Distribution, Stony Brook Regional Sewage Authority, Trap Rock Industries, and Weldon Materials.
- Leading Labor Unions: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Local Union 94, Laborers' International Union of North America, New Jersey Building and Construction Trade Council, New Jersey Pipe Trades, New Jersey State AFL-CIO, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and Local 855, and Utility Workers Union of America and Local 601.
- Health Care and Educational Institutions: Children’s Specialized Hospital, Christian Health Care Center, Continuum Health Partners, Cooper Health System, Englewood Hospital, NJ Hospital Association, Princeton HealthCare System, Springpoint Senior Living, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Trinitas Health and Regional Medical Center.
The 54 municipalities that have endorsed Energy Strong are listed at the bottom of this release.
In addition, more than 7,300 people have added their names to the list of “Energy Strong” supporters, asking for information and updates on the proposal, which requires approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. And a recent customer survey by PSE&G shows that more than 70 percent of its customers support the “Energy Strong” proposal.
The New Jersey Hospital Association, which has 425 members, recently endorsed the plan. The association represents acute care and specialty hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, home health agencies, adult and pediatric health providers, and hospice providers.
“Sandy illustrated the vital importance of our state's healthcare delivery system and its need for a resilient energy infrastructure," said Betsy Ryan, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. "The provider community recognizes and supports efforts by the state's utilities to harden the systems that are critical to getting power to New Jerseyans.” John P. Sheridan, Jr., President and CEO of The Cooper Health System, echoed those comments.
“PSE&G's proposal will help protect against damage from storms like Sandy, and greatly enhance the reliability and dependability of electric delivery, which is vital to Cooper,” Sheridan said.
Marlene Asselta, president of the Southern New Jersey Development Council, an eight-county regional economic development organization, commended PSE&G for its commitment to strengthening the infrastructure and keeping Southern New Jersey open for business.
“While there is no way to prevent storms with the magnitude of Sandy, there is a way to prepare for this eventuality. The Energy Strong program created by PSE&G does just that,” Asselta said. “While this program is a major investment, it is modest when you consider that Sandy caused over $30 billion in physical damage and over $20 billion in economic loss due to business shutdown, most of which was due to loss of power.”
Gary Puma, president and chief executive officer of Springpoint Senior Living, which provides housing and care to about 3,500 seniors in 23 New Jersey communities, said PSE&G’s plan to strengthen its system so that it can better withstand natural disasters will help seniors throughout the state.
“A rash of extreme weather has shown how vulnerable we are to storms. Sandy was a vivid reminder of how much we rely on electricity, not just for comfort and convenience, but for health and welfare. Lengthy power outages take a toll on seniors, in particular, when they are forced to vacate their homes,” Puma said.
To learn more about PSEG’s Energy strong proposal or to sign up as a supporter, go to www.NJEnergyStrong.com.
The following municipalities have passed a resolution or written a letter in support of PSE&G’s Energy Strong infrastructure investment program: