It’s like a heat wave!

Extremely high temperatures, thermometer on warm desert sand
Cue the Supremes! Temperatures are forecast to be in the high ’80s  and low ’90s across Long Island and the Rockaways. While we often casually throw around the term “heat wave,” there are some specific requirements for weather to qualify as such–and the end of this week just might make the cut.

Defining Heat Waves:

Generally, heat waves or extreme heat, are defined by temperatures that hover about 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for a region, and last for prolonged periods of time. More specifically, in the Northeast, heat waves are defined as three or more days with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. Days with temperatures below 90 degrees can still qualify as a heat wave depending on humidity levels, which determine a heat index threshold.

Understanding terminology:

One thing nearly everyone can agree on, though, is that extreme heat can be uncomfortable, and in some instances, dangerous. Familiarize yourself and your family with these important terms to understand the weather’s intensity and make smart choices about spending time outdoors.

  • Heat ADVISORY:
    Issued when the heat index is to exceed 105 degrees (100 degrees for New York City) for less than three hours a day for two consecutive days.
  • Excessive Heat WATCH:
    Issued when it is possible the heat index will exceed 115 degrees for any length of time or when the heat index will exceed 105 degrees for three or more hours for at least two consecutive days.
  • Excessive Heat WARNING:
    Issued when the heat index is expected to exceed 115 degrees for any length of time or when the heat index will exceed 105 degrees for three or more hours for at least two consecutive days.
  • Ozone Health ADVISORY:
    Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  • Heat Index:
    A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.
  • UV Index:
    Forecast of the amount of skin-damaging UV radiation expected to reach the earth’s surface at the time when the sun is highest in the sky (solar noon).

Watch for Signals:

  • Heat exhaustion: Cool, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature may be normal, or is likely to be rising.
  • Heat stroke: Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high -sometimes as high as 105 degrees. Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

Happy friends on lonely beach

Staying safe:

Looking for ways to beat the heat? Try these tips to stay cool and safe all summer long.

  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Insulating your home will help you conserve electricity and reduce the strain on your home’s power demands. Be sure to weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cool air inside, allowing the inside temperature to stay cooler longer.
  • Use your fan. Setting fans to rotate counter-clockwise to pull warm air up to the ceiling while pushing cooler air down. This will also help you cut down on air conditioning costs.
  • Install window air conditioners snugly. Insulate spaces around air conditioners for a tighter fit. An air conditioner with a tight fit around the windows or wall openings will make less noise and allow less hot air in from the outside.

For more tips to stay cool during this heat wave and all summer long, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

What it means to be LEED-certified and why it’s important

Construction Contractors building a new home

What is LEED?

Being LEED-certified is a phrase we hear often–generally as bragging rights–for businesses, homes, schools, government buildings and others. But what, exactly, does it mean?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998 to assess the environmental performance of a building and encourage a shift towards more sustainable designs. The certification operates on credits, meaning projects earn points for eco-friendly processes during building, such as energy efficiency, water conservation and using sustainable resources, among others. Certification isn’t the same across all businesses and homes, though. Depending on the project and industry sector, LEED credits are earned differently.

How does it work?

As mentioned above, LEED operates on a point system. There are prerequisites to receiving the certification, which do not count towards the 100-point total. After fulfilling these, businesses and homes receive points for green choices. The level of certification is dependent on points accumulated.

Levels of certification:

  • Certified: 40-49 points
  • Silver: 50-59 points
  • Gold: 60-79 points
  • Platinum: 80-100 points

Man in a suit and a worker in overalls

Why is it important?

Becoming LEED certified is important for a number of reasons. Your business or home is helping a larger effort to move the global scale towards a more environmentally friendly and efficient society; but it’s also important for financial reasons. PSEG Long Island makes it easy for local businesses across Long Island and the Rockaways to work towards their LEED certification with these programs:

Prime Efficiency Partners:

This program includes vetted contractors, distributors, suppliers and manufacturers of energy efficient equipment available to work with our customers.

Download the Prime Partner List here. Interested in becoming a Prime Efficiency Partner? Fill out an application here.

Technical Assistance Efficiency Partners:

Our Technical Assistance (TA) partners help businesses minimize their energy usage while maximizing profits. TA partners work with customers to acquire LEED or ENERGY STAR certifications, create energy models, and study new energy efficient technologies. Our program will fund up to 70 percent of study costs in an effort to determine the energy savings potential for a project. These savings can then be further rebated by our Commercial Efficiency Program (CEP) rebates.

Visit here for a list of TA partners. To become a partner, fill out an application here.

Other financial incentives:

Additionally, New York State and the federal government offer some monetary incentives to receiving the certification, largely dependent on how many points a project has accumulated. Depending on the type and location of a project, visit here for important resources to see how LEED can help you and your business save money.

For more information on how to become energy efficient, and save money, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Celebrate July 4 Safely

Black mother and son at family 4th July barbecue,
July 4th is almost here, and what better way to celebrate America than with barbecues, fireworks displays and some quality beach time? But with the holiday weekend approaching, we want to remind our customers to enjoy Independence Day and all its festivities safely and responsibly.

Before firing up the grill or lighting that sparkler, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these tips for a danger-free celebration.

Barbecue Safety:

Every year, about 7,000 people across the United States are inured while using backyard barbecue grills. Do the following for safe grilling during the long weekend and beyond.

  • Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your house, including porches, garages and outdoor carpets. Also ensure grills (charcoal or gas) are not located under wooden overhangs as they could catch fire and ignite the entire structure.
  • Check for gas leaks. Although PSEG Long Island does not supply gas, it’s important our customers know exactly what to do in the event of a gas leak. If you suspect gas is leaking from your grill, call our friends at National Grid.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Be sure you and your family members are familiar and comfortable using the extinguisher in the event of a fire.

Beach Safety:

Heading to the ocean this weekend? Be sure to remember these tips before propping up in the sand.

  • Look out for one of the greatest means of energy–the sun! Apply sunscreen periodically throughout the day to avoid a nasty burn.
  • Swim within the lifeguard flags. Even when the ocean may seem calm, there can be rip tides. If you find yourself caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to the shore until a lifeguard is able to pull you out.
  • Protect your neck. Never dive head-first into any body of water, including swimming pools.

Celebration Safety:

With parties abound this weekend, it’s easy to get carried away. A few important reminders before the celebrations begin:

  • Drink responsibly, and never drink and drive. Ask a friend or call a cab for a safe ride home.
  • Keep electronics away from water. If you’re taking a dip in the pool, be sure to keep your cellphone in a dry place.
  • Don’t leave candles unattended. If you’re lighting citronella or other candles outdoors, be sure to blow out the flame when heading back indoors.

Have a happy and safe July 4th! And for more tips like these, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Beat the heat with these tips!

Smiling girl in swimsuit and straw hat on white beach
Summer officially kicked off this week, and after a rainy spring, we’re hoping to see the sun. But high temperatures can also bring high energy bills from cranking up air conditioners and running pool pumps.

Beat the heat with these money- and energy-saving tips.

  • Smart savers thermostatOur customers can receive $85 from us if they have central air conditioning and install a qualifying smart thermostat. The thermostat allows us to make short-term adjustments to a customer’s AC unit to reduce power during peak demands. This reduces strain on the electric grid, and can help customers save on their bills. Visit us here for more details.
  • Air conditioner upgrades: Customers should ensure their air conditioners–whether central systems or window units–are up-to-date and efficient. Using an ENERGY STAR-certified AC unit uses 15 percent less energy than others, and we offer customers rebates up to $50 for their purchase. As part of our Cool Homes program, customers who upgrade or install a central air conditioner are eligible for up to $600. It’s also important to replace air filters with central air conditioning units, as dirt and dust force the equipment to work harder and use more energy.
  • Pool pump upgradesA dip in the pool can be a great way to cool down without cranking the AC, but antiquated pool pumps can pose a separate stress to your wallet. Upgrade to an ENERGY STAR® pool pump and receive up to $350 in rebates. Because these pumps are energy efficient, customers can save more money over time, since the equipment lasts up to three times longer than a single-speed pump.
  • Don’t cool an empty house. Be sure to set your thermostat at a higher temperature when you’re not home. Setting your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from it’s normal setting can save up to 10 percent on annual heating and cooling costs.
  • Set refrigerators and freezers to efficient temperatures. Refrigerators should typically be set between 36 and 38 degrees, while freezers should range between zero and five degrees.

For more tips on how to save money this season, visit us here, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

New customer tech provides information, resources during Hurricane Season and beyond

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This week’s sunshine and warm temperatures are reminders that summer is on its way. However, the season can also be accompanied by some nasty weather. Hurricane season kicked off June 1, and we’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends our way – are you?

We’ve been working hard over the past few years to help our customers stay connected and informed before, during and after a storm by improving our customer technologies. Familiarize yourself and your family with these resources to stay safe in the event of an emergency.

Online storm center:

Our online storm center is entirely mobile-friendly, and houses all of the important information and resources you may need for a storm. Here, you can report an outage, view safety tips, watch storm prep videos, and more.

MyAlerts:

Our texting service makes it quick and easy for you to report an outage from your mobile phone. Once an outage is reported, you’ll receive periodic status updates on your outage. Or, for immediate updates, see the instructions below.

To register:

  • Text the letters OUT to 773454 (PSEGLI) and press SEND.
  • You will be prompted for type of outage – NO LIGHTS or PARTIAL LIGHTS.
  • Reply/text back your choice.
  • You will be prompted with a confirmation text.

For immediate status updates:

  • Text the letters STAT back to 773454 (PSEGLI) and press SEND.

Please note that your mobile phone number must be registered to your account. By registering for MyAlerts, you’ll also receive the option to pay your bill and manage your account by text. For more information on this service, visit here.

Outage map:

The new, interactive, mobile-friendly outage map allows you to report your outage; see how many customers are affected by a particular outage, and the cause of an outage; view crew statuses; and see estimated restoration times.

outage map

Social media:

Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels are another great way to stay informed during a storm, and on a daily basis. In addition to our regular messaging about energy efficiency, community events and more, we also post proactively about outages, storm damage and safety tips in the event of an emergency.

We’re also now taking outage reports on social media. Our team of customer service representatives are responding to outage reports, and other questions, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on weekends, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. And of course, we accept outage reports online, and through our our emergency phone line (1-800-490-0075), 24/7.

Sesame Street app

If you have little ones in your family, the Sesame Street Workshop app is another way to prepare for a storm. The app, titled Let’s Get Ready: Planning Together for Emergencies, offers free emergency preparedness and response initiatives in English and Spanish.

visit our all-encompassing hurricane preparedness blog post.

View from the top: A first-hand account of aerial power line inspections

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“Don’t eat a big breakfast,” my co-worker told me the day before my very first helicopter ride. “People tend to get sick.”

With nothing but a half a protein bar and cup of coffee in my stomach, I headed to Republic Airport in Farmingdale to embark on a morning-long trip with our vegetation management specialist, Mike Draws, and pilot, Frans.

IMG_0218Once a year, Mike and his team work with a helicopter service to conduct aerial inspections of the power lines across Long Island and the Rockaways. The overhead survey, Mike explained, is generally performed over the course of three days in late May or early June, prior to hurricane season. The inspection allows our crews to spot any potential interference–usually overgrown branches and decaying trees–with power lines that could cause outages or fires.

Aerial surveillance is no small feat. Before taking off, Mike must notify McArthur Airport, Nassau and Suffolk Police Departments, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and others, for air traffic purposes as well as national security. Weather depending, Mike spends between 8 and 14 hours in flight.

After a briefing on in-flight conduct and safety, we were ready for take-off. Weather that week had been overcast, but winds had died down and clouds made way for sun that Friday morning. I climbed in the back seat as Mike and Frans took the helm, and waited as the propellers spun. I’m not quite sure what I was waiting for–I suppose something similar to when an airplane takes off; the high-pitched humming of engines, or that tingly feeling in your heart when the altitude changes. This was somewhat anti-climactic. The craft gently lifted off it’s wooden launch pad as I watched the ground below me turn from full size homes to postage stamps.

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Still no vomit. Things were looking up–but I was looking down. We coasted over Melville, north into Huntington, occasionally dipping less than 100 feet from the power lines. Mike and Frans chatted over the headset like old friends, giving one another directions as if we were driving to the local grocery store.

“We’re going to make a left up here,” Mike said to Frans, pointing to a highlighted line on a paper map.

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Mike highlights circuits as he and Frans fly overhead to indicate which have been inspected and which still need inspection. Simultaneously, Mike uses a special program created by PSEG Long Island’s IT team to send information on potential dangers in real-time–think Google Maps meets iPhone’s drop-pin feature. The program uses GPS technology to display a map, similar to the paper one, with circuit lines. On the right-hand side is a drop-down menu indicating various issues: obstructing branches, decaying trees, trees leaning on wires, among others. Mike selects whatever the issue may be, and drops a pin on the map in correspondence with the problem. This information is then sent to our transmission and distribution crews in Hicksville. Managers will dispatch their crews to the location of the problem, or potential problem, for immediate resolution.

We continued our journey through Huntington, along the train tracks in Woodbury, to Syosset and Jericho before heading south to Freeport. At this point, I was beginning to understand the small breakfast warning. Trying to focus on a stationary sight in the distance, we headed east along the rail road and circled north again into the town of Brookhaven, doing a fly-by of our substation in Holtsville, before heading south over Fire Island and back to Republic Airport.

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Three hours later, I was happy to be reunited with the pavement. We said our goodbyes and I tried to let my stomach make its way down from my esophagus. But as I pulled out of the airport into bumper-to-bumper traffic onto the Southern State, one spell of nausea seemed like a small price to pay for a speedy ride home.

For more pictures and videos from this adventure and others, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

It’s hurricane season: Are you prepared?

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Hurricane season officially kicks off June 1, and forecasts predict an especially active six months. We know residents on Long Island and the Rockaways are no strangers to the dangers that can come with hurricanes; but like any major weather event, PSEG Long Island is prepared to keep our customers safe.

Safety extends far beyond the realm of electricity. We want to ensure our customers know who to contact for all facets of an emergency. PSEG Long Island joined forces with The American Red Cross of Long Island, National Grid, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano at the annual hurricane press conference to prepare and support our customers before, during and after a storm.

Keep these resources handy so you’ll know who to contact depending on your needs.

Electrical emergencies:

If you or a neighbor are without power, there are a few quick and easy options to report an outage: online, at www.psegliny.com/stormcenter; by phone at 1-800-490-0075; or by text, by texting OUT to 773454 (PSEGLI). Also, be sure to visit our new, interactive, mobile-friendly outage map for restoration updates, crew statuses and more.

Gas emergencies:

If you smell natural gas, or suspect a gas leak, contact National Grid immediately. Abnormal pressure (high/low flame) or no gas in all your gas appliance; a continuous flow of water leaking from gas heating unit or water heating unit; and a white cloud of mist, fog or bubbles in standing water, all constitute gas emergencies as well. For a complete list of emergency indicators, visit here.

Shelter emergencies:

In times of crisis, it is conceivable the Rockaways, and Nassau and Suffolk County residents could be evacuated. If you and your family are in need of a place to go, the American Red Cross is here to help. Visit their shelter map to find open and available shelters near you to keep your loved ones safe.

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) also provides shelter to those in need. Its Disaster Recovery Center Locator allows individuals to search for the nearest shelter to their home, and provides hours of operation, services provided, directions and more.

Transportation needs:

Storms can cause damage and thus, major changes in how Long Islanders get around. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) website for train delays, changes and cancellations.

5-1-1 New York is another vital reference for residents, particularly near the time of a storm. The online service allows users to enter their current location and desired destination, and shows road closures or other anticipated issues along the route.

For those who take the bus, Nassau Inter-County Express and the Suffolk County Transit Bus twitter account offers service alerts to notify customers of any change in route.

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Additional resources:

BeReadyLI: This all-encompassing online resource came about as a partnership between PSEG Long Island, The United Way of Long Island, and 2-1-1. It offers visitors resources across our service territory to prepare for storms; news and alerts on storm events; and more.

Nassau County Office of Emergency Management: The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offers residents information on storm preparedness, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, weather advisories, tips for staying safe during a major weather event, and more.

Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management: Like Nassau’s OEM, Suffolk County’s OEM offers residents important information on how to stay safe during storms, office contact and location information, information on Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and more.

2-1-1: The non-profit offers residents across Long Island and the Rockaways non-emergency health and human services information including food assistance, child or elderly care, and more; as well as severe weather information; and hurricane preparedness information.

For more information on how to stay connected during a storm, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t let balloons ruin your party

Balloons on electrical wires

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and with the holiday comes graduations, parades, barbecues and other celebrations. Helium and Mylar balloons often make these gatherings feel more festive–but while they’re great party decor, they can also cause outages when they come into contact with power lines.

When the party’s over, it’s important to remember to dispose of Helium balloons properly. Allowing balloons to drift from the celebration to the power lines can cause a short circuit and eventually lead to an outage. Mylar balloons pose an even greater risk. Their metallic coating conducts electricity and when they come into contact with live wires, can cause outages, fires and possible injuries.

Here’s a video from our friends at Arizona Public Service showing the danger of balloons in power lines.

The safety of our customers is always our top priority. To reduce the risk of outages and injuries, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never touch a power line. Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, toy or other type of debris that is entangled in an overhead power line. Call PSEG Long Island to report the problem at 1-800-490-0075 so our crews can remove the item safely.
  • Mylar balloons and other decorations should be kept away from overhead power lines and all utility equipment.
  • Make sure balloons are secured to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Keep balloons tethered and attached to the weights at all times.
  • Always properly dispose of Mylar balloons by safely puncturing the balloon in several places to release the helium that otherwise could cause the balloon to float away.

For more kite and balloon safety tips, visit our website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tips for staying safe during Electrical Safety Month

We all know the sound–the dreaded chirping of batteries dying in the smoke detector. “Tomorrow,” we say to ourselves, disabling the device or muffling the sound through music or fans.

“Tomorrow” is often too late. Every year, home electrical fires account for about 51,000 total fires and more than 500 deaths across the country, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Sixty-five percent of these deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors.

May is National Electrical Safety Month and we want to remind our customers, both commercial and residential, that safety can’t wait. Share these tips with friends and family to avoid electrical hazards and stay safe.

man unplugged plug to save on energy

  • Don’t overload outlets. Plugging too many devices could cause the power strip or wall socket could cause it to overheat and start a fire.
  • Make sure at least one smoke detector is placed on every floor of the home. Locate detectors on the ceiling away from air vents and near bedrooms. Test smoke detector every few months to ensure they’re working and change the batteries every spring and fall when the clocks change.
  • In kitchens, bathrooms, and near swimming pools, standard outlets should be replaced with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s). GFCI’s are devices that will provide shock protection by quickly cutting off the circuit and preventing injury. GFCI’s should be UL approved and installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Never pour water on an electric fire, as water acts as a conductor and can cause shock. A fire extinguisher that is rated as Class C should be used for electric fires.
  • Never touch a downed wire or go near one. Always assume the power line is live and call PSEG Long Island at 800-490-0075 to report downed wires.
  • Do not handle electric appliances with wet or damp hands, and never use electric appliances in wet or damp conditions, unless the appliances are specifically rated for that use.

For more tips on how to stay safe, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit our website here.

Five Safety Tips This Mother’s Day

Kate Vossen – Corporate Communications, PSEG

Do your kids get into everything? I know mine does!

While we do our best as parents, sometimes we forget the dangers that our little bundles of joy can get into when they are crawling – or sprinting – around our homes at ground level. We safely interact with electricity every day so it can be easy to forget that if handled in the wrong way, they can be dangerous.

That’s why this Mother’s Day, we are sharing some safety tips to make life a little easier for moms and our kids.

  • Outlet covers: This is a must! They are cheap and easier for parents to remove than the giant plastic covers from the 80s. Remember, there are 120 volts of electricity running though those outlets. We don’t tend to think about that, but we also don’t stick our hands in our mouths or in sockets. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so cover your outlets!
  • Oven Knob Covers: Even bigger kids can accidentally brush against a gas stove and turn the knob. This can lead to a flame on the burner or a gas leak. Oven knob covers fit over the existing knobs and can be purchased at any hardware store.
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Due to their smaller bodies, children breathe faster than adults and may be more severely affected by carbon monoxide – an odorless, colorless gas. Make sure your home has working carbon monoxide detectors. If you ever smell gas in your home, leave the premises with your family immediately and call 911.
  • Loose electrical cords: We all have that lamp that is placed in just the right spot. The only problem is the cord is 4 feet and the outlet is 2 feet away. Loose cords can be an attractive chew toy to a baby and a major trip hazard to a toddler. Make sure to wrap cords tightly, using Velcro wraps or zip ties.
  • Electronic Devices: We might not admit it, but we all have given our children a smart phone or tablet to watch a show or play games. While this is a great weapon in the fight over an afternoon nap, there is a lurking danger. Never allow children to charge electronic devices unattended or in bed. The batteries can overheat, especially if the child falls asleep and the device is covered by a pillow or blankets.

And don’t forget, it’s important to have conversations with your children about safety outside of your home and in the community. Make sure they always stay away from power lines and utility poles!

Safety is PSEG Long Island’s top priority but it’s everyone’s responsibility. From one mom to another, have a safe and happy Mother’s Day!