Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sandy anniversary reminds us of cold nights in the dark

                                                                                                        Robert Sciarrino photo/The Star-Ledger
Two years have passed since Hurricane Sandy roared away, leaving us luck ones without major flood losses but shivering, without power, in the cold and dark.

Since then major area electric utilities have developed plans to have taken steps to prevent widespread outages and bounce back more quickly when the next storm hits. 

Erin O'Neill reports today that New Jersey's largest utility company, Public Service Electric & Gas, "received approval in May for a $1.2 billion program that officials said was the largest infrastructure investment settlement approved by the state Board of Public Utilities.
John Latka, the senior vice president of electric and gas operations at PSE&G, said the storm surge during Sandy exposed issues that other, recent storms had not.
“That was the big game changer,” he said. “It certainly put a new light on how we were set up, how our infrastructure was built.”
The recently-approved program — dubbed Energy Strong — includes $620 million for raising or relocating 29 flood-prone switching stations and substations and $200 million to deploy smart-grid technology and to create redundancies in the system to help reduce outages. The company had originally proposed a $3.9 billion investment but that amount was reduced following concerns about the scope of the plan and its impact on ratepayers.
Still, Latka said, “this is a great start and any time you can rebuild and repair stations it’s certainly going to help our cause.”
What about you?  Have you taken any special steps to keep your home warm and bright when the next inevitable winter storm snaps branches and power lines? 

We spent four days and nights in the dark during the worst outage in recent winters and see that a number of our wise, suburban neighbors have purchased gas-powered generators to run outside the house. Via electric power cords, the lower-priced models can supply enough power to keep your refrigerator running--and maybe some lights and space heaters, too. Larger a units can be wired directly into your circuit box and power your whole house like an oasis on a dark, winter night.

Following Sandy, you couldn't find a generator for sale and when stores began to re-stock, their prices were out of sight for most folks.       
What's your experience today? Have you purchased a generator?  What size did you get and what will it handle?  Have you had any experience with your generator since you bought it?  Any recommendations for all of us who are still hoping their electric utility is on the ball? Use the ‘comment’ box below to share your thoughts. Stay warm.

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