Recent hurricane devastation acts as solemn reminder for LIers to be prepared

Hurricane Harvey Impacts

Just days after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean, leaving destruction in its wake. Now, with Irma’s sights set on Florida and Jose on its heels, our hearts and thoughts are with the people who have been, and could be, affected by these natural disasters.

We also recognize that Long Islanders and Rockaway residents are no strangers to the heartbreaking aftermath of a hurricane. Nearly five years ago, Super Storm Sandy left members of our community without homes, cars and cherished belongings. These types of storms–Sandy, Harvey, Irma and others–are a somber reminder that the peak of hurricane season is upon us. And because September is emergency preparedness month, having a disaster plan should be a priority for both our customers and the utility.

What we’ve done:

Since the creation of PSEG Long Island in 2014, and with Sandy’s devastation top of mind, infrastructure improvement and reliability projects have been two of our biggest urgencies. With the help of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $729 million of federal recovery funds were secured for the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) through an agreement between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The funds will allow us to replace more than 1,000 miles of mainline circuit facilities; elevate and protect flood-prone substations; and install innovative automation that isolates faults, all of which will allow us to limit the number of customers impacted by an outage and significantly speed-up their restoration if power is lost.

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Most recently, we started work in the Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay—specifically Seaford and Massapequa—to harden the energy grid. Here, we’re replacing existing wires, installing new and more durable poles, and replacing switching equipment.

But our work to improve reliability is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to emergency preparedness. We, with the help of multiple other businesses and organizations in our service territory, are here to ensure our customers have the tools they need to be ready and stay safe.

What you can do:

We suggest our customers familiarize themselves and bookmark our mobile-friendly website and outage map. The outage map allows you to report an outage; and view outage locations, expected restoration time and number of customers affected. Information is updated every 15 minutes.

outage map

We also urge customers to register for MyAlerts, a texting/e-mailing service that provides outage and restoration updates right to your cellphone. You can also text us to report an outage, and check the status of an outage.

To register:

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

Connecting with us on social media is another crucial way to receive up-to-date storm information. Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for alerts about storms and outages, and advice for preparing and staying safe. Our customer service representatives are available to answer questions and receive outage reports, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional resources:

IMG_1308A year ago, we partnered with the United Way of Long Island, and 211, to create BeReadyLI, an all-encompassing online resource with tips for storm prep; news and alerts about storms in your area, and information specific to those with special needs. The site also offers resources for kids to better understand evacuation plans, family emergency kits and more.

And, don’t miss our blog post from the start of hurricane season with additional resources to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends our way.

What Labor Day means for our union workers

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Ron Bauer, right, and friends at the PSEG Long Island-sponsored Ducks game in August. Our linemen took to the field to sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ during the 7th-inning stretch. Watch the video here!

Labor Day began as a time to honor those who worked in some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions with a day of rest. With roots in the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century, the holiday has morphed into an end-of-summer staple complete with barbecues, parades and parties. Despite the evolution of how Labor Day is celebrated, and the working conditions of manual laborers, the essence of its foundation is not lost.

Much of what we do at PSEG Long Island is reliant upon our hard-working and dedicated union employees. Our linemen, meter readers and other union employees work in heat, snow, wind and rain to help us keep the lights on for our customers, as generations have done before. But being part of the union means more than just braving the elements for a job.

Meet one of our long-standing union employees, Ron Bauer. Ron is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049, which represents utility workers that generate and maintain the electric and gas transmission and distribution system on Long Island, most recently taking over as its business manager for Don Daley in February 2017. He started his labor career in 1987 as a union member with Local 1486 (International Union of Painters and Allied Trades) then joining IBEW Local 1381/1049 in December 1991.

As part of IBEW Local 1049, Ron has chaired various committees, attended conferences, and received training during his labor career that have instilled in him the core values and principles of all working people.

“Being a union member is very beneficial,” he said.  “Good and fair wages, benefits, security, a career path, dignity, a voice at work, a safety conscious job and fair treatment all through collective bargaining and activism.”

Ron currently volunteers with Hope for the Warriors, which benefits disabled veterans; Make a Wish’s Polar Bear Plunge; The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides 5K; the Marcum Workplace Challenge; and the United Way’s March of Dimes 5K.

The camaraderie from participating in these events as a union employee, Ron said, is truly a unique experience.

“The unity and family atmosphere a union brings is unparalleled,” he said. “I’m grateful to be a member of Local 1049 and feel truly blessed.  The opportunity to serve more than 4000 IBEW members [between electric and gas] is such an honor.”

We’re incredibly grateful for all of the work Ron, IBEW 1049, and all of our employees do for PSEG Long Island on a daily basis. Wishing everyone a happy, relaxing and well-deserved Labor Day!

Car shopping? Save money and the environment with the Nissan LEAF!

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Electric cars have been inundating the market in recent years, from electric-gas hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Chevy Bolt; to pure electric cars, like the Tesla or the Nissan LEAF, among dozens of other models from various companies.

We at PSEG Long Island offer our customers a variety of incentives for choosing a “green” form of transportation, and realize the want to do so varies from customer to customer. Whether you’re considering an electric vehicle to help protect our environment, or hoping to cut costs on gas, we’re here to help you make the most of your motivation.

With this in mind, we’re particularly excited to announce a new incentive from Nissan – a $10,000 rebate off its 2017 LEAF model. The rebate is provided by Nissan and open to customers and employees of PSEG Long Island. It will be available through Sept. 30 or until 2017 LEAFs are out of stock (whichever occurs first).

In addition to the $10,000 rebate provided by Nissan, customers could be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government and a $1,700 “Drive Clean” rebate from the State of New York.

Here’s how the price breaks down:

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($32,500 is for a base model LEAF; the MSRP of cars available will vary based on features)

Want to take advantage of the offer? Our customers simply should take a copy of their PSEG Long Island bill and a promotional flyer to their local Nissan Dealer. We encourage those considering the purchase to call dealerships in advantage, to ensure the car is in stock. It is also worth noting that the promotion cannot be combined with other deals.

To download the flyer, visit our website here.

And for more information on all things electric vehicles, visit us here, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

6 easy ways to save while on vacation

Hispanic family holding hands at beach

Back to school is right around the corner, but there’s still a few more weeks of summer to kick back, relax and head to your favorite seasonal get-away. Regardless of where you’re going, a vacation should be full of “ahhhs” instead of “oh nos”; so don’t let the stress of high energy bills get in your way.

Follow these simple tips to help save money while you’re away and put some dollars back in your pocket for your return home:

  1. Turn the AC down, or off. Before you hit the road, consider adjusting your central AC to around 84 degrees or turning it off completely.
  2. Adjust the temperature on your water heater. If you have a natural gas water heater, you can set it to “low” or “vacation” mode. If you have an electric water heater, set the temperature as low as possible.
  3. Don’t empty the refrigerator. Did you know a full fridge is more efficient than a half-empty one? You’ll save energy by getting rid of any perishables, and stacking the shelves with water bottles while you’re away. To conserve even more, adjust the thermostats to higher settings: 38 degrees for the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer.
  4. Unplug appliances and power strips. Whenever an appliance is plugged in, it’s using energy. Find anything that has a display screen or light like a TV, cable box, coffee maker or toaster oven and switch it off. Plugging these into a smart strip makes this step even easier.
  5. Close blinds and pull curtains down. This will prevent the sun from warming up your home and lower the amount of heat that’s coming in.
  6. Switch off fans and lights. You can also use an automatic timer for security reasons. Save even more money by switching to LED bulbs.

As a final tip, snap a photo of your stove dial in the ‘off’ position before leaving the house. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to relax worry-free.

For more tips on how to stave money and energy, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Stay safe: Always call 8-1-1 before digging

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8/11 is more than just another hot day in August – it’s National Safe Digging Day, in honor of the country-wide safety hotline, 8-1-1. Whether you’re installing a fence to keep the family pet in the back yard, or getting a head start on some fall landscaping, we want to remind our customers that making a call to 811 beforehand is not only important for safety reasons, but it is also the law.

Calling 811 is free, and you’ll connect automatically to the New York One-Call center, which collects information about your digging project to ensure there’s no interference with underground pipelines, conduits, wires and cables. The one-call center then provides the information to the utility companies, who will send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines in the immediate vicinity of the planned work location with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked and you receive confirmation, you can begin your project. The process typically takes about two business days.

Use these tips to help yourself, friends and family stay safe:

  • Call 811 at least two business days before each job to have underground facilities located.
  • If you hired a contractor, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Do not allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
  • Large and small projects, such as installing a fence, building a deck and planting a tree, all warrant a call to 811.
  • Property owners must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within two feet of marked lines or the area known as the Tolerance Zone.
  • Various colors are used when marking lines, learn what each color represents at www.call811.com.

If an underground facility is struck resulting in an electrical or gas emergency:

  • Leave the area immediately and keep others away.
  • Call 911 to report the incident and the respective utility:
  • If electrical equipment was damaged, call PSEG Long Island’s electric service line at 800-490-0075.
  • If you accidentally damage gas piping or smell gas when excavating, call 911 and National Grid Long Island’s gas emergency line at 800-490-0045 immediately from a safe area.

For more tips on how to stay safe, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Turning the tables on STEM stereotypes

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Two summers ago–nearly to the day–the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer swept the Twitterverse, highlighting the contributions and importance women and minorities have in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). The viral campaign came about after a slew of sexist responses to an ad for the company OneLogin, featuring a female engineer.

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“My team is great. Everyone is smart, creative and hilarious,” reads the copy next to a photo of Isis Wenger, a platform engineer.

Commenters ridiculed Wenger for her appearance and expression, while others debated the validity of the campaign itself. She later took to the Internet to write about her experience.

“This industry’s culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mold,” she wrote.

But we at PSEG Long Island are determined to change that. We’re working hard to defy the stereotypes often associated with STEM professions, starting with some of our youngest customers.

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Thanks to our partnership with the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, we recently unveiled the Energy Patch during a special event at the STEM center at Camp Sobaco. Girl Scouts receive the patch upon learning about electric safety, reliability, energy efficiency and community.

Media relations specialist Elizabeth Flagler and graphic designer Carol Mele designed the patch, which is shaped like the iconic Girl Scout Trefoil cookie. The patch comprises four diverse girls joining hands around a hard hat, light bulb, work zone cone and home, and “PSEG orange” stitching along the perimeter.

Our work to encourage and showcase female work in STEM doesn’t stop with the Girl Scouts. We also work closely with Stony Brook University to sponsor a STEM summer program, called Stony Brook University Exploration in STEM Research. In order to participate, students must come up with a research proposal, find a faculty member to act as a mentor throughout the summer, and submit an application, which is reviewed by a faculty selection committee.

The program is geared towards freshmen and sophomores who would not necessarily have the opportunity to do research.  Last year we met with three of the 20 students involved in the program, highlighted in this blog post. Of the 20 participants, eight were women, many of whom were also minorities.

In addition to our foundation work with Stony Brook University, PSEG Long Island hosts an annual supplier diversity fair, catering to businesses classified as New York State Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs).

The annual fair provides networking opportunities for these companies to meet with PSEG Long Island and other prospective clients. Attendees also learn how to do business with us; meet other businesses that currently work with us; and receive information on New York State’s supplier diversity program.

To see other ways we’re helping women and minorities succeed in STEM, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

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.