Women in STEM Spotlight

March is Women’s History Month, what better way to celebrate than honoring women who have made significant contributions in history? Today, we are spotlighting an award-winning inventor, biophysicist and respected innovator in solar energy and a scientist turned politician.

Mária Telkes­– Maria was an award-winning inventor, biophysicist and respected innovator in solar energy. She was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1900 where she attended the University of Budapest earning a B.A and Ph.D in physical chemistry. Telkes later attended MIT where her focus was the practical uses and applications of solar energy. During World War II Telkes developed a solar distillation device that was included in emergency medical kits that helped save the lives of downed airmen and torpedoed soldiers. She also contributed to Solar One, a solar based home while working at the University of Delaware. Over the course of her career Telkes received many honors including the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award and the Charles Greely Abbot Award from the International Solar Energy Society. In 2012 she was post-humously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her invention of Solar Thermal Storage Systems.

Dixy Lee Ray– Before becoming the first woman to be appointed to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Dixy Lee (born Marguerite Ray) started her career in science by earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from Mills College in Oakland California. She later enrolled at Stanford University where she worked toward earning her doctorate in zoology. Following her graduation in 1945 she joined the faculty at the University of Washington where she stayed for 27 years. Ray moved to Washington D.C in August 1972 after being hand selected by President Richard Nixon to serve on the AEC. After the division of the AEC Ray became part of the Department of State and served as assistant secretary in charge of the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She resigned from her position in order to protest the lack of support from the Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and returned to her home state. In 1977 she was elected governor of Washington.

10 Tips for Staying Warm Without Touching The Thermostat

1. Dress Warm

When indoors the same principles apply to adding layers as if you were going outside braving the snow! Add a sweater, robe or your favorite hoodie for added insulation to increase your body heat!

2. Wear Thick Socks or Slippers

It is time to get your favorite pair of fuzzy socks or slippers out! They can help you remain warm while walking on cold floors! Once your feet are warm, the rest of your body will feel warm too!

3. Use the Oven and Stove for Cooking

Using your oven or stove will generate heat in your kitchen. This is why many people avoid using them in warmer months! For colder months, the opposite advice can be applied! These appliances can add extra warmth.

4. Leave the Oven Open After Baking

After baking in the winter, leave your oven open to let the hot air escape therefore adding heat to the room. USE CAUTION when pets or children are around. Do not use an oven as a primary source of heat. Burning natural gas for long periods can increase carbon monoxide levels in your home.

5. Enjoy a Cup of Soup

Hot meals can help you warm up from the inside out! There is nothing like a cup of soup on a cold day! If you make the soup from scratch, the simmering pot on the stove will generate heat in the kitchen!

6. Drink Warm Beverages

Your beverage choices can also help to warm you up! A nice cup of tea, hot cocoa, or coffee can warm you up immediately and a mug works as a great hand warmer!

7. Use a Humidifier

Running the heat during winter months tends to strip the indoor air of humidity, which is often a bit warmer than dry air. To balance this you can purchase a humidifier model that enables you to choose between warm or cold air.

8. Reverse the Ceiling Fan

As the weather drops, try changing your ceiling fan to #WinterMode to circulate warm air. The gentle updraft pushes warm air down, which naturally rises to the ceiling.

9. Stay Upstairs

If you have a second floor in your home, it might be a good idea to spend more time upstairs because hot air rises.

10. Get Active!

Even if it’s just a walk around the house or up and down the stairs, or even getting started on that home improvement project you’ve been meaning to do you can warm up real quickly when you’re moving around!

Celebrating the Unsung Inventors of 5 Everyday Objects

Some innovations, like Levi Strauss blue jeans, carry the names of their inventors. But many everyday objects were created by people who don’t get the recognition they deserve. Here are five devices we take for granted and the geniuses responsible for the technological advancements.

1. Ballpoint pen

Before your favorite writing utensil sat in a mug on your desk, inventor Laszlo Biro and his chemist brother, Gyorgy, created the ballpoint pen in the early 1900s. They experimented with a new type of ink and a ball-socket before settling on the design they received a patent for in 1938. Michael Bich, of the Bic company, purchased the patent in 1945, and the rest is history.

2. Scotch tape

After creating masking tape a few years earlier, Richard Gurley Drew created transparent adhesive tape in the 1920s. 3M marketed it as Scotch Brand Cellulose Tape, which can still be found in kitchen junk drawers around the world. But Drew didn’t stop there; he and his team also received patents for reflective sheeting for road signs, surgical and foam tapes, and electrical insulation.

3. Air conditioning

Though summer days seem almost unbearable without air conditioning, the technology didn’t exist until just over 100 years ago. Willis Carrier, the “Father of Air Conditioning,” found inspiration for his cool device on a foggy train platform in 1902. He realized he could dry air by passing it through water or add moisture to air, changing the humidity of a room. Later that year, he developed the concept for the world’s first modern air conditioning system.

4. QWERTY keyboard

Nineteenth-century typists initially had a much different keyboard than the one we know today. The letters were positioned alphabetically in two rows, which caused problems when nearby letters were hit in quick succession. Christopher Latham Sholes fixed that issue by arranging the letters around popular keys, and he received his patent for the first typewriter with a QWERTY keyboard in 1868.

5. Optical mouse

Though most computer functions are accessed with a mouse, not many stop to consider where the modern optical mouse came from. Richard Francis Lyon, who worked for Xerox at the time, developed a mouse that used both a light and light detector to direct a cursor. He demonstrated his light-sensing mouse in 1980, and others added to the technology to create the mice we use today.

The next time you search the web with a keyboard and mouse or adjust the temperature on your air conditioner, remember the inventors who spent lifetimes researching and developing the technology that makes our lives easier.

emPOWERing the Long Island Community Through Mentoring

PSEG Long Island’s John C. mentors high school students via Zoom.

COVID-19 health and safety protocols have halted PSEG Long Island’s hands-on community service. However, thanks to technology, it hasn’t stopped two employees, John C. and Orlando M., from mentoring people across Long Island.

Even though National Mentoring Month is recognized in January, for John and Orlando, mentoring is a year ‘round endeavor. For about a decade John, who works in PSEG Long Island’s Power Markets organization and Orlando, part of the Power Asset Management group, have mentored special needs and “at risk” students, and special needs adults through Career Employment Options, or CEO Inc. Works (CEO), in Hauppauge. And they haven’t let the pandemic slow them down!

Through the use of virtual classrooms, video chat and online conferencing, the CEO programs have remained a relevant and crucial part of daily life for so many.

Orlando M. (left) and John C. meet with students at a high school career fair last year before the pandemic.

Now, rather than going into high schools, meeting  face-to-face in “career labs”, everyone meets on Zoom. Gathering in groups of about a dozen, Orlando  and John meet with their mentees to discuss future plans and goals, including college, vocational school, and careers after high school. However, with some students facing real barriers and serious life issues, career and college counseling sometimes can be more challenging.

“Some of these kids have been approached by or are in gangs looking to get out; others are being bullied or have anxiety issues,” shared John. “We serve as positive influences for these kids as we work with them through often-serious personal crises. One benefit of the virtual meetings is that it has allowed us to mentor younger students – freshmen and sophomores – along with upperclassmen, and follow them throughout their high school career.”

“The other great thing about virtual meetings is that we can meet during the school day and also in the evenings. We also offer them one-on-one sessions,” added Orlando. “We’ve been able to share so much with these students, including information on our Lineworker Academy, and that women can be lineworkers too. And we tell them about all the job opportunities available at PSEG Long Island – some that require college degrees and others that don’t. If my advice and feedback can help one person find his or her way, I’m happy.”

Orlando and John also mentor job-seeking adults through CEO’s “networking clubs.” This program provides resume-writing skills and help develop elevator pitches, while honing interview techniques through mock interviews.   

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National Mentoring Month in January, was started in 2002.

“Weather” it’s Six More Weeks of Winter or an Early Spring We’ve Got You Covered

Frigid weather might be here to stay, and you likely have been bundling up to keep your body heat in and the cold out. But, have you thought about if your home is appropriately “dressed” for winter?

Here are some ways you can help keep the heat in and your heating bills down throughout the winter with little to no cost.

  1. Lower your thermostat by just one degree. You’ll hardly notice and this may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime, if health conditions permit. Considering a programmable or smart thermostat to lower your thermostat automatically.
  2. Everyone loves a cozy fire on cold days, but make sure to close fireplace dampers when you are not using it. This will help prevent warm air from escaping your home.
  3. Ceiling fans aren’t just for the summer. In the winter, you want the ceiling fan to slowly spin clockwise to push the air upward towards the ceiling. This will circulate warm air near the ceiling down the walls and towards the occupants in the room.
  4. Replace old windows. Replace old, drafty windows with new energy-efficient windows for added insulation and less heat loss.
  5. Rearrange the room. Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers to allow for maximum heat.
  6. Seal up your windows and door frames. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts. While you’re at it, install draft stoppers beneath doors. You can get them at your local hardware or home improvement store. Also be sure to remove or cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts.

(Click here for  66 Ways to Save Energy.)

Safety first! Always wear the appropriate safety equipment for the job such as eye protection, gloves, and a mask to protect against dust. Also make sure to use your ladder safely. Remember to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly – it could save a life.

Want to learn more ways to save money and energy? Visit the PSEG Long Island Home Energy Analyzer. There you can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.

Stay warm!

Living Up to Our Mission and Making the Improvements Our Customers Deserve

–Dan Eichhorn, President and COO, PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island has been proudly serving Long Island for seven years, carving out a strong track record of improving what matters for our 1.1 million customers. During Tropical Storm Isaias, we did not provide the experience our customers have come to expect. We own that mistake, and have been working nonstop since Isaias to resolve all of the issues our customers experienced.

I want to be crystal clear about something:  We remain steadfast in our commitment to serving Long Island as evidenced by the significant improvements that we have made in our systems. I want to share some of this progress with you.

Telephone Systems

Since Tropical Storm Isaias in August we have made several improvements, including removing bottlenecks and increasing capacity of parts of the telephony solutions that caused the problems customers experienced during that storm. 

We’ve made multiple design changes in concert with our vendors and our third party subject matter advisors. And we have conducted a series of tests along the way to validate the fixes.

We have now completed seven major tests on the telephony system. Tests included injecting 5,000 concurrent calls into the system. We held those calls for approximately 2 minutes each for a period of time. This represents a possible total call volume of approximately 150,000 calls per hour which exceeded the calls attempted during Isaias’ peak calling hour by 38 calls.

Second, we tested the connectivity to our on-premise call center.  This is important because in a storm, if a customer needs to speak to a representative to inform us of what is known as a “wire down scenario,” we need to be sure that their call can get to our call center. We tested 575 concurrent calls under that scenario. Again, the system functioned properly in this test and without any delays. 

We agree with LIPA that an end-to-end test is appropriate to confirm the results of these tests, and we expect to complete that test as expeditiously as possible in the next few weeks.

Outage Management System

The Outage Management System is being addressed in two parallel paths.

First, after Isaias we reverted the OMS software to the pre-storm version 5.5. In late August and early September a 90% Customer Outage test over a 24-hour period modeled after Super Storm Sandy was run. The results yielded valuable information on the limitation of OMS v5.5.

Since September the following actions have been taken to improve the current production OMS system:

  • On Jan. 24, 2021, we reran the 90% Customer Outage test. The results of this test were very positive. The core outage management system was stable throughout the test. The system remained usable throughout the entire test with transaction times slowing only during the peak periods of outages. The function of updating the outage map was able to scale to reflect 70% of the customer outages.  This compared to only 12% in September’s test.
  • As noted already, we also plan to conduct an “end-to-end” test of the system, including not only telephony and digital channels, but also OMS in order to confirm these results and that the systems will operate as expected.
  • We have continuously improved our testing practices which will be incorporated into our annual testing plans.

Second, in addition to improving the current production version of OMS, we are following the recommendation of our OMS vendor to obtain new infrastructure for our OMS system so that we can re-implement the upgraded v6.7.  Since the December board meeting the following activities have been completed or planned:

  • Ordered and started to receive hardware to re-platform the system.
  • We plan to follow lessons learned and only implement changes in production that have been thoroughly tested in the test environment.
  • Pursuant to our project plan, we expect to be able to begin testing the upgraded software in February, and to place that new version into production in April. 
  • We intend to complete the testing and to make sure version 6.7 is re-implemented successfully and as expeditiously as possible. 

We believe this “belt-and-suspenders” approach to the OMS – testing and improving version 5.5 while we upgrade to 6.7 on new hardware at the same time – is the best way to ensure that our OMS works properly during a major storm.

Contingency Plans 

I cannot praise PSEG Long Island’s 2,500 employees enough for the tireless work they did during Isaias to continue restoration work despite the technological challenges. We have put significant effort into integrating the lessons we learned from their efforts, as well as input from other stakeholders, into an updated business continuity plan that addresses these scenarios. 

We submitted this plan to LIPA and convened a team of more than 20 employees across the company to incorporate LIPA’s feedback. We functionally tested the revised plan this week and are making final edits and improvements and plan to resubmit it for LIPA’s review.

Continuous Improvement

The progress I just shared does not encompass everything PSEG Long Island has been doing to improve things for our customers. There were a total of 85 recommendations in the LIPA 30 and 90 day reports.   LIPA requested these plans to be worked in a priority based on three tiers.  All Tier 1 and Tier 2 plans have been submitted to LIPA. Tier 3 plans are currently being worked and are due to LIPA on Feb. 5, 2021. We will review LIPA’s feedback on these plans and work with our consultants and staff to address it as expeditiously and robustly as possible.

PSEG Long Island will never stop working to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. It’s part of our culture to find new ways to improve the experience for the people we serve. It’s what we have done for seven years, and our stumbles during one storm have not shaken us.

We deeply value our relationship with LIPA and with the people of Long Island. We remain firmly committed to providing the best service for Long Island that can be provided, for many years into the future.

Make the Most Out of #CutYourEnergyCostsDay

PSEG Long Island customers have saved $330 million on energy bills since 2014

PSEG Long Island proudly announces that business and residential customers throughout Long Island and the Rockaways have saved an estimated $330 million on electric bills over the past seven years by taking advantage of PSEG Long Island’s energy efficiency programs.

In recognition of National Cut Your Energy Costs Day – Jan. 10 – PSEG Long Island commends its customers for making a commitment to the environment by making cost-effective, energy-saving upgrades to their homes and businesses. National Cut Your Energy Costs Day encourages people to look for ways to reduce energy costs and save on their energy bills.

There are several energy cost saving programs and products available to PSEG Long Island customers. If it is time to replace an old inefficient cooling/heating system, the PSEG Long Island Home Comfort Program offers options to save on the purchase of new, high efficiency air source heat pumps that will lower energy usage, save money and provide greater comfort.  Rebates are available for ducted air source heat pumps, ducted geothermal heat pumps, and ductless mini split systems. 

Customers can also save money by making simple DIY updates. Here are some tips that can help save money and energy on National Cut Your Energy Costs Day and every other day of the year:

  • Replace old inefficient light bulbs with LED bulbs. 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.
  • Use energy efficient power strips. Items plugged into outlets can waste electricity just by being plugged in, even when turned off. This is sometimes referred to as “phantom power.” A simple way to eliminate this avoidable usage is to use an energy efficient power strip or unplug electronic devices when not in use.
  • Install timers and motion detectors. Automatically turning indoor and outdoor lights on and off by using timers or motion detectors is another way to save energy.
  • Lower your thermostat by just 1 degree. This has the potential to reduce your heating bill by up to 3%. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime, if health conditions permit. PSEG Long Island offers rebates on smart thermostats that can be programmed to lower your thermostat automatically.
  • Ceiling fans aren’t just for the summer. In the winter, slowly spinning ceiling fans can be set to rotate clockwise, pushing the air upward towards the ceiling. This will circulate warm air near the ceiling down the walls and towards the occupants in the room.
  • Seal up windows and door frames. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts. Also be sure to remove or cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts.

Independent annual evaluations by Opinion Dynamics Corporation have found PSEG Long Island’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs generate energy savings that are cost-effective. In its evaluation for 2019, Opinion Dynamics found that the PSEG Long Island Energy Efficiency Program generated $2 in benefits to the utility and its customers for every $1 in costs to operate the program, including rebates.

For additional information and to learn how to cut energy use every day visit, https://www.psegliny.com/efficiency. Be part of the conversation on National Cut Your Energy Costs Day by using the hashtag: #CutYourEnergyCostsDay. 

Finding Hidden Energy Losses in Your Home

Is hidden energy waste costing you? Some energy losses are easy to spot, while others may be concealed behind walls or in dark corners. Carefully examine your home. What you find may surprise you — and save you money. Here’s what to look for.

Holes in the attic

You may not spend much time in your attic, but it’s a great place for air (and your energy dollars) to escape. While you’re up there, make sure there’s no air leaking through gaps and holes. Pull back attic insulation to find cutouts from ceiling fans and recessed light fixtures and seal them with caulk or expandable foam. Check for and seal gaps around plumbing vents, furnace flues and ductwork. Also, seal the attic door or access with weatherstripping.

Gaps underground

Airflow through holes in your basement can undermine your energy budget and reduce comfort. Air can escape through gaps and cracks in the rim joists and where the wall meets the ceiling, as well as through plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls. Caulk is best for sealing small holes or cracks. Use spray foam insulation to fill larger gaps.

Insufficient insulation

If your home isn’t insulated properly, you’re spending more to be less comfortable. Check your attic. If there’s no insulation, contact a qualified contractor right away. If you have insulation, make sure the R-level matches that recommended for your climate zone. What about your walls? A qualified contractor can perform an inspection and advise whether you need to add insulation.

Phantom loads

Many electronic devices in your home, such as smartphone chargers and video game consoles, continue to draw power even when they’re turned off. Unplug devices when they’re not in use or plug them into advanced power strips, which automatically power off unused devices.

Clogged filter

Forget to change the air filter on your furnace? The added heating and cooling costs will leave a lasting impression. To ensure efficient airflow and comfort, change your air filter monthly during the heating and cooling season, or according to manufacturer’s guidelines.

Bare pipes

If the hot water piping coming out of your hot water tank isn’t insulated, you’re wasting energy and money. Fitted pipe insulation is available at your local DIY retailer, and it’s an easy and affordable project. Click here to see how.

You’ve covered a lot of ground and uncovered a lot of ways to reduce your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. Take it a step further and hire a qualified professional to perform an energy assessment of your home. You’ll receive a targeted set of recommendations to save energy and make your home more comfortable.

A Cornucopia of Turkeys and all the Fixings for Those in Need

Giving Tuesday is a powerful opportunity to set aside holiday shopping and support nonprofits that help the community, and the PSEG Foundation is maximizing our impact by providing a 2:1 match today for all employee contributions.

While today’s donations will certainly add up, PSEG Long Island employees carry our company’s mission of strong community involvement all year long, and they have already been busy making contributions of a different kind to put food on the tables of neighbors in need.

Despite the pandemic, our employees collected and donated thousands of pounds of nonperishable food, along with hundreds of Thanksgiving turkeys, to help people facing food insecurity. This was part of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s (BFCU) annual turkey drive on Nov. 20, which supports Island Harvest Food Bank.

(Bethpage)

Navigating through the contactless donation drive-thru set up to ensure donors’ safety, Long Islanders dropped off a whopping 3,157 turkeys in total – far more than the 2,100 collected last year! We’re especially proud of the PSEG Long Island employees who contributed 265 of the donated birds. 

The turkeys were distributed to families across Long Island to help make their Thanksgiving meals special and complete.   

(Bethpage)

Along with all of those turkeys, PSEG Long Island’s efforts provided Island Harvest with 3,000 pounds of nonperishable food to help fight hunger in our area.

(Lindenhurst)

Our employees collected canned and packaged foods – some they donated themselves and others brought by the public to several recent food drives at PSEG Long Island offices in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

(Hewlett)

During three weeks at the end of October and beginning of November, employees, customers and community members were invited make donations of food and household essentials at Island Harvest drop boxes set up outside our offices, which remain closed to protect public health.

(Patchogue)

The customer turnout at the Patchogue office is worthy of an honorable mention. Thank you to the people in the area who came out in force to drop bags and boxes of cheer for our neighbors in need.

(Seaford)

While Giving Tuesday is one day in a busy holiday season, food insecurity is a year-round concern and COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem. That’s why supporting this cause is so important.

If you would like to donate to Island Harvest or are struggling with food insecurity, call 631-873-4775.

To learn more about PSEG Long Island’s support of the community, click here.

View photos from the 12th Annual Turkey Drive