At the company’s annual meeting today, Ralph Izzo – PSEG’s chairman, president and CEO – detailed the company’s plans to spend the next decade hardening New Jersey’s energy infrastructure against extreme weather. He highlighted the company’s investments in transmission, energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as the performance of its generation fleet.
“We have a proven strategy, and we continue to reap benefits from our robust business mix, which includes being one of the most reliable electric and gas utilities in the nation as well as one of America’s leading wholesale energy producers,” Izzo said.
Izzo detailed the company’s $12 billion five-year capital spending program, which is largely dedicated to investments in the transmission system – work that will improve reliability in the region. The utility is constructing five major transmission lines, which are scheduled to be operational this year through 2015. And it recently received approval for an additional major transmission project slated to be in service by June 2018. That work is creating thousands of jobs.
Izzo highlighted the performance of PSEG Power, the company’s wholesale energy supply business, noting that the company has a well-run fleet that is environmentally responsible and geographically well positioned.
The company’s fossil fleet had its best year ever from a safety standpoint, ranking in the top 10 percent in the industry. And PSEG’s Linden combined-cycle generating station achieved record electricity output.
“Our fleet’s diversity helps us meet the market’s needs by providing more options as well. Indeed, our generation fleet is one of the most diverse by fuel mix and dispatch capability among all major power producers in the United States. I’m proud to say that as a result of effective long-range planning by our Power group, we were able to deliver significant savings on gas to our NJ customers this winter,” Izzo said.
Most of PSEG’s generation units are located near population centres, creating a locational advantage that has been enhanced by the company’s access to Marcellus shale gas from Pennsylvania. PSEG has put that access to good use –allowing the utility to deliver significant savings to gas customers.
The chairman noted that while people are using less electricity they have nonetheless become more dependent on electricity, and extreme storms like Sandy have revealed the vulnerability of existing infrastructure. He detailed the company’s plan to make proactive investments that will help protect against the ravages of future storms.
“There is widespread appreciation that resiliency investments are important for a sustainable future,” Izzo said. “These improvements will significantly benefit all of our customers and would create thousands of jobs and contribute to New Jersey’s long-term economic health.”
“Energy Strong” calls for investing $3.9 billion over 10 years (the first phase, which invests $2.6 billion in the first five years, is currently under review by the Board of Public Utilities.) This proposal will fortify facilities that were impacted by previous storms and deploy technologies that will help PSEG restore service to customers more quickly during future storms. The plan has received unprecedented support, with endorsements from more than 100 New Jersey towns and counties, representing approximately five million people. Last week, leading legislators State Senate President Steven Sweeney, Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto expressed support for Energy Strong, saying it needed to be done now.
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