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Reliability Is Job One

Sometimes I wonder if people have lost their minds. It is just breathtaking that more than one person at the community meeting with PSEG actually said that they’d rather put up with power outages than look at ugly high poles.

It’s amazing how we—well, some of us, anyway—forgot what happened not even two years ago during Hurricane Sandy. Hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution wire lay on the ground tangled up with fallen trees.

There was up to two weeks or more without power. There was spoiled food, limited communications, dark houses getting colder by the day, spotty gasoline supplies limiting mobility, lost business revenue and payrolls. Figuring out how to get to work or even telecommute was a daily logistical exercise—provided that our employers were even open.

As for the tree trimming, inadequate trimming was identified as a major problem as far back as 1985 when Hurricane Gloria wiped out a good part of the Island’s electric distribution network. This was again cited as a major problem after Hurricane Irene in 2011 when more than a million people in Nassau and Suffolk were in the dark. Evidently, National Grid hadn’t learned much from that experience when Sandy ripped through a year later. Now we finally have a utility that takes this seriously, and they’re getting grief over it.

The poles are not pretty, but keeping the lights on is Job One for any electric utility. It’s that simple.

—Samuel Glasser

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