PSEG Long Island’s Brian Miller returns from Army Reserve COVID duty

– Jeremy Walsh, PSEG Long Island

The fight against COVID-19 has been described as a war.

Brian Miller, director of Procurement at PSEG Long Island, would agree.

Miller is an Army veteran who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now a deputy commanding general in the Army Reserve. He just returned from 28 days of duty coordinating support for the Army Corps of Engineers as they identify sites, design conversion plans, and build alternate care facilities across the nation.

“This pandemic is having a gigantic impact on the country,” Miller said. “It has impacted people in many ways that are often horrific. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones.  With the loss of life, it was somewhat similar to my time in Afghanistan and Iraq where people were fighting and dying.” 

He described some of the parallels: The “fog of war”; an enemy that is hard to identify or nail down; and significant impact on noncombatants.

Working out of the Corps of Engineers headquarters in Washington, D.C., Miller was part of a high-level team that identified and filled personnel gaps where technical engineers were needed.

With nonessential travel banned by the Army, Miller attended twice-daily update meetings, seven days a week, with Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commander of the Corps of Engineers. Operating from an office building where everyone wore PPE and sanitized as though everyone was infected, he led a 10-person team to handle all of the staff work necessary.

Miller’s team helped mobilize 169 Army Reserve engineers who played key roles in assessing possible alternate health facility sites, running emergency operations centers and providing quality control for several construction projects for these health facilities.

 “The biggest challenge was the dynamic nature of tracking the virus and the medical shortfalls and needs of communities across 50 states and five territories, and then anticipating where we might have a shortage of engineer support,” Miller said.

The efforts Miller supported are expected to help create 15,000 temporary hospital beds. Now that he has returned to his work at PSEG Long Island, Miller looks forward to applying some of the lessons he learned from Gen. Semonite.

“During a complicated crisis, it is best to develop simple solutions and share them widely,” Miller said. “Communication is key.”

Thank you for your service, Brian.

Energizing Our Healthcare Heroes

– Janeen Johnson, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, PSEG Long Island

We are so proud of our employees’ commitment to their communities throughout the year. And even more so during these challenging times.

As our essential workers in the field ensure homes and businesses are provided safe, reliable power during the pandemic, and the rest of our team is social distancing in their homes, many working while home schooling their kids, we have not forgotten that commitment.

Two months ago, the social distancing initiative caused us to pause our hands-on community service for hundreds of not-for-profit organizations across Long Island and the Rockaways.

It did not pause our resolve to support our neighbors.

Through our Diversity & Inclusion Council and employee business resource groups, we are now providing sustenance to some of the people battling the pandemic on the front lines – energizing our healthcare heroes.

Throughout April and also during National Nurses Week, which ended on May 12, dinners, lunches and breakfasts, along with uplifting thank you-notes from PSEG Long Island employees, were sent to daytime and overnight staff caring for COVID-19 patients at a dozen facilities across Long Island. Our employees have made a commitment to providing these catered meals, snacks and sports drinks to at least 30 local hospitals, nursing homes and healthcare facilities.

To date, more than 300 meals have been sent to a dozen facilities, including Northwell Long Island Jewish Valley Stream, Stony Brook University Hospital and the Northport VA Medical Center’s Community Living Center. Often the restaurants catering our donated meals throw in extras, like cases of waters, cookies or other goodies for the healthcare heroes. The camaraderie is uplifting and our sense of community couldn’t be stronger. The thank-you notes, letters and photos from the healthcare workers bring joy to our employees.

Along with the food donations we’ve also been able to provide financial support through the PSEG Foundation to help our neighbors affected firsthand by the coronavirus pandemic. Island Harvest Food Bank received a $45,000 grant to reduce food insecurity during the pandemic. And the United Way of Long Island’s UNITED TOGETHER: A Response Fund for COVID-19 was given a $25,000 grant. The money will help alleviate disruptions to family life by providing eligible applicants with critical basic needs of food and household supplies.

Once it is deemed safe, we are committed to putting back on our bright orange “community service” T-shirts and getting our hands dirty gardening and sorting food for Island Harvest, walking in the March of Dimes March for Babies, cleaning up parks and open spaces, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, participating in charity runs, mentoring children in schools and engaging in myriad other community service events and activities. 

Until then, we are #PSEGLIproud to support our neighbors with the pressing needs that this COVID-19 pandemic brings.

It’s OK to eat cookies for breakfast

Gina V, Health & Safety Program Mgr, Meter Services Health & Safety

After the birth of my oldest son (Connor, 6), I joined the esteemed ranks of “working mothers.” Seven years later – and with a set of twins (Hunter and Rhys, 3) and another son (Logan, 2) added to the mix – I still remember the challenges I faced when I returned to the workforce. There I was, trying to adjust to my “new normal,” as I tried to balance the complexities of motherhood and the demands of a professional career.

Until recently, I’ve only telecommuted when necessary. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed things and required that I make the immediate transition from reporting to a traditional office to a fully remote work environment in my home. To add to this challenge, social distancing guidelines forced my children’s schools to close, resulting in my kids having to transition to remote learning platforms. Overnight, my home became both an office and a school, and my children became my new colleagues and my students.

My days are now more complicated, as evidenced by the white board calendar hanging on my dining room wall.  My children, who have video conference calls with teachers throughout the day, require structure in the style of an all-hands meeting. Their constant presence also means plenty of interruptions, which challenge my productivity – and this necessitated the hanging of the red light / green light working sign on my office door.

My days are also longer and, sometimes, more challenging than before, like that day my kids smashed an entire bag of Goldfish crackers on my bed, and the day they finger-painted with chocolate pudding on the living room windows while I caught up on emails.  My consolation is knowing that I’m not in this alone. My friendships with other working parents have grown exponentially. We share a sense of solidarity as we swap stories of our struggles to understand common core math while our children crash video conference calls. We trade tips on the best online learning platforms, homeschool resources and quick dinner recipes. There is great comfort in knowing that we are all here for each other, doing our best and accepting the fact that it’s okay to eat cookies for breakfast — especially on those tough days. 

As I continue to adjust to this new social landscape and all the challenges it presents, I also reflect on the positive impact telecommuting has had on my life. Working from home has provided me the opportunity to be present for my children. In addition, I treasure the increased snuggle time we have now that I’m not using that time to commute. Working from home has also provided my children the opportunity to see me working, and I hope that inspires them to apply themselves, now and in the future, with similar dedication. These are the moments that I want my children to remember when they look back on this time of uncertainty and fear; we were all in this together, learning to navigate our “new normal.”

PSEG Long Island: Essential workers delivering an essential service to our customers

Dan Eichhorn, President and COO, PSEG Long Island

At PSEG Long Island, we are relentless in improving and updating our plans to respond to emergency situations. When a storm like the one that hit our service area on April 13 brings down trees and power lines, our crews suit up, leave their families and work in potentially hazardous conditions until everyone’s service is restored.

In other words, our employees are essential workers providing an essential service. That’s why, even amid emergency orders restricting many people from working outside their homes, you may still see PSEG Long Island employees doing their jobs in your neighborhoods.

Storm response is not the only essential work we do. To ensure an outstanding level of electric reliability for our customers, we must constantly inspect, maintain and upgrade the electric infrastructure. Just as an example: Well before that April 13 storm, we stepped up our inspections and maintenance of crucial transmission and distribution lines that serve our hospitals to protect our health workers from any interruptions during their lifesaving work. And we continue to storm-harden the electrical circuits that serve our homes and neighborhoods, improvements that reduce storm-related outages by 45%. In this time of uncertainty, we all know how essential it is to have reliable electric service in our homes.

While we perform this essential work, the safety of our employees and customers remains PSEG Long Island’s top priority. We have procedures in place to ensure our employees and third-party contractors follow federal and state guidelines governing safe work practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

These measures include observing safe social distancing while work is carried out, limiting the size of crews, placing strict limits on the sharing of equipment, tools and machinery, and implementing stringent hygiene and sanitization procedures. We are providing all employees with face coverings and gloves, and have separated our workforce into smaller teams and also established a number of remote reporting locations to reduce the number of employees who are together in one place. 

In addition, we have suspended all nonessential work in customers’ homes, and we are only entering customer premises for service emergencies or essential repairs. When it is necessary to enter a customer’s home or business, we work under screening protocols that carefully assess the risk so that our employee can use the precise personal protective equipment needed to do the work safely. 

You can help, too. We ask customers and members of the public to remain a safe distance from any of our crews you may encounter so that they do their essential work safely.  We appreciate your support as we work to make Long Island and the Rockaways an even better place to live and work.

Stay connected. Stay informed.

Need assistance, we’re here for you! Here are all the ways you can stay connected at home or on the go.

DOWNLOAD OUR NEW MOBILE APP

PSEG Long Island mobile app for Android or Apple devices allows customers to manage their electric usage, report an outage, pay bills, and much more!

JUST ASK ALEXA!

Through the PSEG Long Island skill in the Alexa app, you can ask questions, report an outage, review usage, schedule appointments, get energy savings tips and pay your bill.

Getting Started is Easy
Simply use your voice and say “Alexa, enable the PSEG Long Island skill.” You can also enable our skill from Amazon.com or through the Alexa app. Whichever way you choose, your My Account login information will be needed. 

  • Enable the skill: Open the Alexa app on your smart device. Tap Skills & Games and search for PSEG Long Island. Select ENABLE
  • Link your PSEG Long Island Account: Enter your My Account login information.
  • Talk to Alexa: You are now all set to ask Alexa anything about your bill, payments, usage and more!

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL!

For the latest news, updates, tips and more, follow us on social media @PSEGLI. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

SIGN UP FOR MY ACCOUNT

Sign up for My Account to pay your bill online, schedule service appointments, report power outages, live chat with us, email us and more. All you have to do is visit psegliny.com/myaccount to get started.

SIGN UP FOR MyAlerts

MyAlerts is a 24/7 notification service that allows you to choose the alerts you want to receive and how you’d like to receive them. You can pay your bill or check your account balance via text, receive reminders before your bill is due, report power outages, and get alerts about the status of power outages. Simply text REG to PSEGLI or visit psegliny.com/myalerts to sign up!

MYPOWER MAP

Use this map to gain 24/7 access to real-time outage, crew, and restoration information. Visit mypowermap.psegliny.com

CALL US AT 1-800-490-0025

Helping Tokyo Utility Sharpen Storm Response as Olympics Near

The pressures and challenges a utility faces when recovering from a major storm are magnified when its service area is hosting a premiere international event such as the Olympic Games. Recently, our leadership team met and shared our storm-tested emergency planning best practices with executives from Tokyo’s electric utility as it finalizes its plans to support the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) serves around 29 million customers through its subsidiary, TEPCO Power Grid. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are expected to bring an additional 600,000 visitors from countries around the world to enjoy 17 days of high-profile, global athletic competition.

Our leaders welcomed TEPCO executives to Uniondale on Feb. 4, where they offered a deep dive into their strategy for success on Long Island. This included:

  • Long-term efforts to strengthen the grid, such as a more robust tree-trim program, an aggressive replacement of aging poles, and a FEMA-funded project to storm-harden more than 1,000 miles of distribution circuits.
  • Extensive education and communications efforts to make our customers aware of how the grid is strengthened and what to do in case of an outage.
  • A storm-proven Emergency Response Plan featuring clear restoration priorities; extensive, organized coordination with all levels of local government; and strong, sustained, multiplatform communications with customers and all stakeholders throughout the event.

“We at PSEG Long Island were honored to be chosen as one of three American electric companies TEPCO’s leadership visited, and we were happy to share what we have learned about emergency planning and storm response in our six years of operations here,” said John O’Connell, vice president-Electric Operations. “The Olympic Games are among the most significant sporting events in the world, and while TEPCO will do everything in its power to continue its record of outstanding electric service, it is essential to know exactly what everyone will do to safely and effectively handle a severe weather event, should it arise.”

“The outcome of the meeting with PSEG Long Island was above and beyond our expectations. In particular, the rules and systems for disclosing power outage information to customers were very helpful for us,” said Tomoo Geshi, general manager and assistant to the president of TEPCO. “Thanks to the meeting, we now have a clearer image of our goal.”

Happy Engineers Week! Here’s how PSEG Long Island’s engineers are shaping our world.

Throughout the week of February 16, 2020, we at PSEG Long Island were proud to celebrate our engineers’ achievements and contributions as part of National Engineers Week.

EWeek, as it is called, is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. The week also celebrates how engineers make a difference in our world.

How do PSEG Long Island’s engineers make a difference in your world? If you live on Long Island or in the Rockaways, it’s all around you.

Engineers work hard to design power line circuits that are safe, reliable and minimally disruptive to your neighborhoods. They determine how to integrate essential equipment into the existing installations at our substations to help ensure there is enough electric capacity for even the hottest summer days. They oversee large-scale projects to implement new, cutting-edge technology to improve reliability.

Engineers are the ones making the plans that will help PSEG Long Island become the electric company of the future. Whether that means studying projections of where electric vehicle charging will be heavily concentrated to ensure our infrastructure is ready, determining the best geographic locations to encourage the development of solar and other renewable energy resources, or planning how to implement new customer-based energy efficiency programs that will reduce the need for new power plants, their expertise will shape the world we will see five years from now.

In some cases, our engineers have gone above and beyond to help shape the world even further into the future through mentorship. Carl Williams, a principal staff engineer in our Distribution Engineering Department, has volunteered for many years with the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge Robotics Qualifier competition, serving recently as head referee as students and their adult mentors create robots together to solve a common problem.

We are also honored to remember Joseph Schier, an engineer who spent 41 years with the electric company here, and who developed an educational partnership with Cornell and Hofstra universities to give engineering students a six-month immersion in the real challenges and tools of our trade here at PSEG Long Island.

We have more than 150 employees with an engineering job title or role who strive every day to provide our customers with the best electric system with the best reliability possible. We’d like to introduce just a few to you!

Purba Atandrila is a recent Stony Brook University graduate. She joined PSEG Long Island last July and is putting her mechanical engineering degree to use testing transformers and other sensitive equipment in our Substation Maintenance technical group.

Kevin Rodgers is a longtime Huntington resident who has taken his engineering degree and applied it to project management. As a Navy veteran, he enjoys volunteering in the community as part of PSEG Long Island’s Vets employee business resource group.

Nicholas Culpepper has been with the electric utility on Long Island for eight years and is currently manager of Transmission Planning. In addition to designing the electrical system, Culpepper is also a veteran who enjoys volunteering with the Vets employee business resource group.

Are you interested in an engineering career with PSEG Long Island? Please visit https://jobs.pseg.com to learn more.

Stay alert and stop scammers in their tracks

With a recent increase in the number of reported phone scam attempts, PSEG Long Island again urges residents and business owners to make themselves aware of the tactics scammers use to try to steal their money.

Phone scammers have become more crafty and creative in recent months. In many cases, the scammers can change their caller ID so that it appears their calls are coming from “PSEG Long Island.” More than 6,600 calls were reported to PSEG Long Island in 2019, up from 4,088 scam calls reported in 2018. There is usually an increase in scam calls around holiday weekends when scammers know that customers will be distracted from everyday things.

“Phone scammers want their targets to panic so they don’t think clearly,” said Rick Walden, vice president of customer operations for PSEG Long Island, who also said in a news release that the utility never demands immediate payment and does not accept prepaid debit card or bitcoin payments. “If you receive a call about a past-due bill, don’t panic. Look for signs that it may not be legitimate, such as a request for a specific payment type or an imminent threat of disconnection.”

Meet Bruce Sackman. Bruce is a retired federal agent, licensed private investigator, and co-author of two investigative books. Bruce was also nearly the victim of a scam. If it could almost happen to him, it can happen to anyone. Here’s his story.

For more information on scams and how stay vigilant, please visit www.psegliny.com/scam

PSEG Long Island app puts power in my hands

Marco Cucci – PSEG Long Island

Did I pay my PSEG Long Island bill? 

This thought comes crashing into my head as I pull my car into the field parking lot at my daughter’s school.

As a working father with two young children, I’ve noticed my memory isn’t what it used to be — or maybe I just have too many things to remember. What time does the game start? Is it even at this field? Was I supposed to bring water for the team this week? Do I have cash on me? Did I even pay my bills yet? Did I pay my electric bill?

Fortunately, PSEG Long Island has launched a new mobile app for customers who have Apple or Android devices, so I can manage my account on the go. Before I make my way out of the car, I grab my phone, tap on the PSEG Long Island app and log into My Account. I can’t remember half the things about my daughter’s game, let alone more passwords, but thankfully the PSEG Long Island app lets me use facial ID for immediate access. Phew. Looks like I did pay my bill. Now I can focus my attention where it belongs: on my little girl, number 9, ready to go. As both teams hit the field, I am relaxed, knowing that I didn’t miss a thing.

Multitasking has become a way of life for many people just like me. We expect companies to offer multiple ways to do business with them that fits into our busy schedules, on our own time, in our own way, wherever we happen to be. The PSEG Long Island app is just one of many ways my company is leveraging technology to accommodate my chaotic life.

Its powerful features include:

  • Viewing and paying bills
  • Reporting an outage and getting updates
  • Contacting customer service

PSEG Long Island has developed a whole range of high-tech ways for me to make a payment, set up recurring payments and text reminders, view my energy use and report an outage.  Whether I’m using the app, texting PSEG Long Island using the MyAlerts feature, or interacting with the company via social media, I can get things done without having to call and speak with an actual person. 

Another recent PSEG Long Island innovation is the customer service chat feature at www.psegliny.com. It allows me to interact with a customer service representative who will personally resolve my issues or answer questions. Look for the “online chat” tab the next time you’re visiting the website.

Apps are incredible tools that can really help make life easier for us multitaskers. Even if you already use some of PSEG Long Island’s online features, I encourage you to download the new mobile app. You’ll always be one tap away from knowing if you’ve paid your utility bill — and that kind of peace of mind is a real game-changer. 

Download the PSEG Long Island app today!

Celebrate National Cut Your Energy Costs Day with PSEG Long Island.

– Director of Energy Efficiency, PSEG Long Island

You might not think that National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is the kind of occasion an electric company would celebrate, but at PSEG Long Island, we have a lot of good news to share about our customers lowering their bills.

Providing people with opportunities to save through energy efficiency is a key part of our company’s mission. And National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, Jan. 10, is a perfect time to announce that our business and residential customers have saved an estimated $280 million on their bills over the past six years by taking advantage of our energy efficiency programs.

We helped our customers achieve this by offering rebates on more-efficient lighting fixtures and lightbulbs, appliances, refrigeration, heating and cooling systems, other energy efficiency modifications.

These upgrades have saved an estimated 1.6 billion kilowatt hours of energy since Jan. 1, 2014. That savings is about more than cash. It’s about our environment. Every kilowatt hour we save helps reduce the burning of fossil fuels, cutting carbon emissions and helping provide a cleaner, greener Long Island.

The rebates continue: This year we are offering significant incentives for the most efficient air source heat pumps that can save customers even more.

Our energy efficiency programs extend beyond simple rebates. In the past six years, PSEG Long Island residential customers also completed 34,000 Home Energy Assessments to gain real insights about how to upgrade their homes and save money. Through our programs, residents recycled 24,000 old, energy-wasting appliances, sparing them from the landfill. To find out more about our energy assessment tools, visit: https://www.psegliny.com/saveenergyandmoney/homeefficiency/homeassessments.

Business customers also saved money in the past six years by completing 20,000 energy efficiency projects, which earned them a collective $161 million in rebates and incentives. The installed energy conservation measures are expected to save 633 million kilowatt hours in annual energy savings.

Want to celebrate National Cut Your Energy Costs Day in your own home? If you’re a PSEG Long Island customer, start by visiting https://www.psegliny.com/efficiency to discover what we have to offer. Here are a few more simple energy-saving tips you can try today:

  • A single LED bulb will save a household approximately $230 over the lifetime of each bulb. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for 15% of home electric use. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures will save energy and money.
  • Items plugged into outlets can waste electricity just by being plugged in, even when they’re turned off. This is sometimes referred to as “phantom power.” A simple way to eliminate this avoidable usage is to unplug electronic devices when they’re not in use or use an energy efficient power strip.
  • Using timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting to automatically turn lights on and off is another way to save energy.
  • The use of a smart thermostat can save you money on both heating and air conditioning costs by automatically adjusting temperatures in accordance with your schedule.