BPU ‘Energy Strong’ Program to Update Infrastructure

By Christie Duffy

Its wasn’t just Sandy. Major storms leave Hoboken underwater.

Some of the city’s cast iron gas mains date back decades. Now 60 percent of this antique infrastructure is set to be replaced. It’s part of the state Board of Public Utilities-approved $1.22 billion “Energy Strong” program.

Hoboken isn’t the only beneficiary of the project. Work began today in Wayne.

Excavating the street by backhoe and by hand, PSE&G workers plan to lay 250 miles of new gas lines.

Twenty-nine power substations are due to be raised and guarded against flooding.

Power redundancies and new technology will be installed — all in an effort to avoid a big storm from knocking out power for days or weeks on end in the future.

“We are expecting that once all these upgrades are done in the next few years that it will substantially help protect our grid against the next big storm,” said PSE&G Spokesperson Karen Johnson.

Hillsdale, Little Falls, River Vale, Springfield and Westwood are also on the utility’s list. They will spanning 200 streets, spanning three counties.

“The towns where we are gonna be replacing these gas mains are all towns that suffered damage either to Sandy or Hurricane Irene the year before,” Johnson said.

PSE&G is going to be installing new plastic pipes all across the state in their territory. They say that it is more resilient to water pressure which means it’s less likely to give out in the event of a flood.

Residents of a Wayne neighborhood say their street did not flood and they did not lose power during Irene or Sandy. But the other side of town is flood-prone. One neighbor poked his head out his front door this morning to say he likes the idea of upgrades.

“Yeah it seems like a good improvement, so why not,” said Will Devega.

The entire Energy Strong project is expected to take five years. The utility has said your bill is expected to increase by $4.

This interactive map lets you find your location and see what’s happening in your neighborhood: