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


“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.


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.


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.


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?

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; 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.

united way 097

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!

Brighten up your spring with this DIY lampshade!

Spring cleaning is upon us! Once again, it’s that time of year to swap winter decor for some brighter trappings. We’ll supply the power so you can brighten up your home with this easy, DIY project from and get made in the shade.

What you’ll need:

  • Lampshade
  • Ruler
  • Fabric and trim
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun
  • Iron
  • Adhesive spray
  • Scissors

How to get started:

  • Plug in the iron to let it heat up.
  • Spread the fabric out on a flat, clean and even surface.
  • Place the lamp shade on the fabric about 1 inch from the right-hand side. Trace along the top of it while rolling the shade along the fabric until you get to the opposite end of the fabric.
  • Repeat for the bottom of the shade. You should now have 2 lines running along the fabric.
  • Join the lines up with a ruler allowing a 2 centimeter seam at one end and cut out the pattern.


  • Fold the 1″ seam and iron out the fabric to avoid any ripples upon application to the lampshade.
  • In a well-ventilated area, generously spray your shade with the spray adhesive. You will also need to spray the cut out fabric piece. Wait a few minutes for the glue to become tacky.
  • Starting again at the seam on the shade, carefully attach the fabric and press out any air bubbles as you go.
  • Trim off any excess fabric around the edges of the shade with sharp scissors. Allow glue to dry.
  • Using a hot glue gun, attach your trim to the edges of your shade, again beginning at the seam and ending by folding a small seam at the end of the braid and gluing down securely.

And you’re all set! See other ways to prep your home for the warmer months here.

Bringing big savings to small businesses through energy efficiency

Walk through any town on Long Island or the Rockaways and you’re almost guaranteed to find a staple spot unique to the area, whether it be a pizza place, deli, boutique or restaurant. These local businesses make up the fabric of the neighborhoods we call home–which is why we’re helping them save money and energy, so they can continue to succeed.

This week is National Small Business Week and to celebrate, we’re highlighting our energy efficiency programs and how they’re helping small businesses across our service territory save. The programs provide local companies with energy consultations to explain how they can cut back on consumption and costs. A consultation consists of a walk-through of an existing facility where all existing data is collected on power equipment. Our energy experts then recommend suggestions based on existing equipment and any potential energy efficiency upgrades.

Meet some local businesses that have benefited from our rebates and upgrades!

Small Town Main Street

The Madelaine Chocolate Company

The Rockaway Beach candy staple wanted to improve energy efficiency by lowering costs and bring more jobs back to the area. To do so, it installed 22 energy efficient heating and ventilation units and a cool roof, by replacing 190,000 square feet of asphalt with new materials. The family-owned chocolate manufacturer received more than $160,000 in rebates; saved $22,200 annually; and reduced its energy consumption by 185,000 kWh per year.

Arrow Linen Supply Company

The Garden City-based, commercial linen supplier upgraded to a fully automated air compression system and installed cool roof technology, which lowers the roof’s temperature by 50 degrees during peak temperatures. Through its enhancements, Arrow Linen Supply ultimately saved $85,400 on its annual bill; received a rebate of $25,286 through rebates; and will save 502,521 kilowatt hours (kWh) a year.

Atlas Switch

This electrical equipment manufacturer upgraded its commercial lighting and air
conditioning systems and received nearly $35,000 in rebates from our commercial efficiency program. The Garden City company also upgraded to about 200 LED fixtures that have reduced start-up time, while providing more light for less money, saving the company almost $14,000 a year. The upgrades also help the business to save a total of 67,869 kWh a year.

While you’re out and about in your town, keep an eye out for these testimonials on how we’re helping other mom and pop shops cut costs!

Employees bring positive energy to local communities during National Volunteer Week

Island Harvest 2

National Volunteer Week kicked off on April 23, and this week, our employees are going the extra mile to give back to the communities across Long Island and the Rockaways. Volunteering is an integral part of working at PSEG Long Island, and an important part of the company’s mission. We’re celebrating this country-wide effort with additional philanthropic events in the communities we proudly serve.

We’re participating in over 30 events throughout the week, and will wrap up with March of Dimes on April 30. Take a look at some of the highlights from this week, and see where we’ll be over the next few days.

April 24: Red Cross Fire Safety


On Monday, our employees joined forces with the American Red Cross of Long Island to assist seniors with installing smoke detectors in their homes in Stony Brook. Volunteers also took time to install complimentary LED bulbs and discussed energy efficiency and money-saving tips with the community. More pictures here.


April 25: Island Harvest Food PantryIsland Harvest 4

Volunteers headed to Island Harvest in Hauppauge on Tuesday to help pack and distribute food to food pantries and soup kitchens. PSEG Long Island works closely with the non-profit on a regular basis to help ensure Long Islanders don’t go hungry. More pictures here.


April 26: The INN and Quogue Wild Life Refuge


Our employees spent the morning at the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) in Hempstead to serve lunch to clients, while other employees went further east to clean up the wild life refuge in Quogue.

The Mary Brennan INN is the largest soup kitchen on Long Island and serves anywhere from 300-500 guests per day. More pictures here.

April 27: Estate Clean-Up, Long Island Children’s Museum

Despite cloudy weather, our volunteers headed image3outside to Brookwood Hall in East Islip to clean up the grounds for spring. The historic estate is now home to Islip’s town buildings.

Later, our resident safety instructor Pete Hornick taught students at the Long Island Children’s Museum about the importance of electric safety and how to make smart decisions around electricity. More pictures here.

April 28: Prom Dress Donations, Feeding Homeless Vets

Prom season is here, and our employees helped local students in need, thanks to Nassau Community College and the Long Island Volunteer Center. The organizations held their annual “Prom Boutique,” where girls are able to shop for a donated gown, shoes and jewelry, free of charge.

At night, employees headed to the Northport Veteran’s Association to prep meals and serve food to veterans in need.

April 29 & 30: Arbor Day Family Fest, Color-A-Thon April, March of Dimes

This weekend, volunteers will help out at the Arbor Day Family Fest in Oyster Bay, which offers families arts, crafts, live music, tree planting and more.

On Sunday, hundreds of PSEG Long Island volunteers and their friends and families will head to Jones Beach for the March of Dimes walk. The event supports the health of premature babies, infant mortality and birth defects. We’ve already raised over $41,000  and are the No. 1 fundraiser for the event!

See more pictures from this year’s volunteer efforts here.

Tell us why you volunteer!

In 2016, employees spent nearly 19,000 hours volunteering at 786 events. Why do you volunteer? Share your reasons and experiences in the comments section.

Celebrating diversity in small business

Diversity Fair 245Diversity among our employees–whether it be in race, gender, sexual orientation, or other varying attributes–is celebrated at PSEG Long Island. We’re proud to bring together a spectrum of people and perspectives that facilitate learning and growth from each other; all while better serving Long Island and the Rockaways.

That commitment doesn’t stop with just our staff. To encourage diversity among the small business community in our service territory, we hosted a supplier fair for New York State Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) at the Marriott in Uniondale.

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


Roughly 30 businesses and 400 participants attended this year’s fair, ranging from professional organizations, to prime vendors and MWBE vendors. Participants included the Nassau County African-American Chamber of Commerce; SUNY Farmingdale Small Business Development Center; Suffolk County Office of Veterans Affairs; Lockheed Martin; Asplundh; and Millhouse Engineering, among others.

Attendees also heard from staples in the Long Island small business community, including PSEG Long Island’s COO and President Dave Daly; Terry Moreland, supplier and diversity manager at PSEG Long Island; Hon. George Maragos, Nassau County’s comptroller; Kenneth Williams, executive director of the division of service-disabled veterans’ business development; Terrance Clark, president and CEO of New York and New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council; and Barbara Stevik, president of Gerard Packing & Belting Corp.

In 2016, more than 33 percent of our supplier spend–$28 million–was with minority- and women-owned companies. We’re incredibly proud of the relationships we’ve built with these businesses over the last three years, and look forward to continuing through 2017 and beyond.

It’s National Safe Digging Month – Call 811 first!


As temperatures finally start to rise, April is shaping up to be the perfect time for prepping our homes and gardens for summertime. But we want to remind customers and contractors that April is also National Safe Digging Month and they should call 811 before the shovel hits the ground.

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.

We have more than 5,000 circuit miles of underground electric distribution and transmission lines across Long Island and in the Rockaways. In addition to electric service lines, there are also buried communications cables and natural gas, water and sewer lines, among other utilities. Even areas across the service territory that are not served by a particular service may still have utility lines running below ground, so it’s important to be extra cautious when digging.


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

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.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips on how to dig safely.