NEW YORK – In preparation for what the National Weather Service has forecasted to be a potentially busy hurricane season, PSEG Long Island hosted its annual hurricane preparedness drill yesterday at Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Bethpage. Nearly 100 PSEG Long Island employees, together with representatives from the Long Island Power Authority, the Department of Public Service, the majority of Towns and many other first responder organizations, simulated a massive response to a significant hurricane.
“Our annual preparedness drill is another demonstration of how PSEG Long Island works throughout the year to safely and quickly restore power to our customers,” said John O’Connell, vice president of transmission and distribution for PSEG Long Island. “We have learned during prior catastrophic events that coordinating our services with other first responders and local agencies is essential when executing on our plan to restore the system.”
This year’s hurricane season begins June 1 and encompasses the fourth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which affected nearly every electrical customer across Long Island and the Rockaways. Since beginning operations on Jan. 1, 2014, PSEG Long Island has invested more than $500 million to storm harden the electric grid, making it more resilient against severe weather. No electric system can be made completely storm proof. However, the utility has made more investments to the grid than ever before and will continue to make improvements to provide its customers with the best-in-class reliability they deserve.
Additionally, PSEG Long Island continues to implement an aggressive tree trimming program throughout the year. Tree limbs that come in contact with electric lines are a major cause of customer outages during storms. In 2014-15, as a direct result of its move to the industry best practice clearance standard, PSEG Long Island reduced the number of tree-related outages by approximately 60 percent on circuits that were trimmed.
Operational processes tested include:
Enacting the flood restoration protocol which includes procedures and coordination with Towns and Villages for customers impacted by flooding.
Prioritizing the clearing of critical roadways by working with Towns, Villages and the respective county Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs).
Logistics processes that improve efficiency of external restoration resources.
Communication processes tested include:
Utilizing press releases and social media to convey pertinent information to customers and other key stakeholder groups.
Providing information to Life Support Customers for them to make an educated emergency plan.
Activating the Mobile Command Unit and Roving Liaisons to hardest hit areas to provide outage and restoration information to customers.
Utilizing previously captured customer e-mail addresses for direct communication with all customers during storm events.
When power is out, it is impossible to restore everyone at once. The main goal is to restore power safely to the greatest number of customers in the shortest time possible and to do that, jobs are prioritized and restored in a specific order. High-voltage transmission lines, substations, critical facilities and critical public facilities are given first priority, followed by large groups of customers and then down to individual outage jobs.
O’Connell continued, “While continuing to make significant investments to make the electric system even more resilient, we know that storms cause power outages. Just as we plan and test our processes, we recommend that our customers make a plan now for what to do in an emergency.”
For more information about PSEG Long Island’s storm preparedness plans and how to prepare before storm season begins, please visit www.psegliny.com/stormcenter.
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