October 29, 2016 marked the fourth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy–a storm of unrivaled power, and thus, damage. In the wake of its aftermath, we’ve made significant improvements to the Island’s transmission and distribution infrastructure, and communications and technology systems to better serve customers.
Following Superstorm Sandy, we began extensive engineering to help make the energy grid across Long Island and the Rockaways more reliable and resilient, assessing every aspect in need of improvement. From a more aggressive tree-trimming program, to upgrades and storm hardening of vulnerable substations and electric lines, and an enhanced circuit and equipment inspection program, our commitment to dependable power is unwavering.
See what we’re doing in your neighborhood and across the Island to make our system and service storm-ready.
Local Reliability Projects
In March 2015, we announced more than $729 million of federal recovery funds were secured through an agreement between Governor Cuomo and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program. This allowed us to begin projects to further strengthen key electric circuits and improve reliability. Since we’ve secured funding, storm hardening and reliability work has started on more than 75 circuits, covering more than 160 miles, from the Rockaways to Southold. FEMA reliability work is planned for more than 300 circuits, which will cover 1,025 miles across the service territory.
Some of the improvements include upgrading poles to withstand winds up to 135 mph, installing stronger and more resistant wires, tree-trimming to clear conductors and reduce the risk of damage to equipment and installing switching equipment to help reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.
Substation and Infrastructure Upgrades
Flooding from Superstorm Sandy caused extensive damage to several substations across the island. In order to ensure substations are better able to withstand extreme weather and potential flooding, we identified 14 projects at ten substations, including Arverne, Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway, Woodmere, Barrett, Park Place and Long Beach that needed storm hardening.
We’ve already finished work on six of the substations and are currently working on the remaining four by repairing and/or replacing critical equipment and installing flood sensors and flood prevention barriers. Additionally, storm hardening work is being done on transmission lines and distribution circuits. About nine transmission lines are being rebuilt and strengthened to minimize interruptions, including reconstructing lines in inaccessible areas and many distribution lines are being upgraded and cleared of vegetation.
We’ve also enhanced our tree trimming program. We’ve implemented industry best practices designed to reduce tree-related outages, increase reliability and improve customer satisfaction. Vegetation-related outages have decreased, and we’ve achieved significant improvement in transmission reliability. We haven’t seen a tree-related outage on the entire transmission system in two years and there has been a 60 percent improvement in distribution reliability for circuits trimmed. And, for increased reliability, crews create a greater clearance around trees and distribution power lines, pruning to 12 feet above, 8 feet to the side, and 10 feet below high voltage lines. Annual aerial inspections of the transmission system also help detect equipment issues and vegetation encroachment.
Our top priority is always the safety of its customers and crews. Along with our own resources and tips to be prepared, we want you to also take advantage of several resources available through its partnerships. BereadyLI.org is a collaboration between The United Way of Long Island, 2-1-1 Long Island and PSEG Long Island. Aimed at helping Long Island residents prepare for disasters, bereadyLI.org is an interactive, comprehensive and easy-to-use website, compiling critical information applicable to children, the elderly, those with special needs and even pets in an effort to simplify the process of being prepped before disaster strikes. By working with experts in the field, the site compiles the most relevant and crucial information for residents to prepare for whatever Mother Nature brings our way.