It’s been five years since Superstorm Sandy slammed the New Jersey coastline on Oct. 29, 2012. Heavy rain, hurricane-force winds, and a powerful storm surge caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, properties, and parts of Atlantic City Electric’s electric system.
The damage was extraordinary – knocking 20 transmission lines, more than 40 distribution feeders, and seven substations out of service, leaving more than 220,000 Atlantic City Electric customers without power. Roads were blocked with sand piles, trees, poles, and downed wires. And South Jersey residents experienced severe flooding and extreme winds, which changed the landscape of the Jersey shore.
Once safe to do so, power restoration activities began in the southern New Jersey area, where more than 2,800 Atlantic City Electric employees and contractors supported the restoration response. More than 2,500 out-of-state personnel also helped through the mutual assistance process to aid in the restoration effort. But today, we are better prepared to combat such storms thanks to support from our new family of Exelon utilities, infrastructure enhancements, and work to modernize the electric grid.
Preparing for Future Storms
After Sandy, Atlantic City Electric took proactive measures to improve safety and reliability for our customers. Revitalizing the system’s infrastructure is just part of our effort to prepare for a weather emergency.
Over the past five years, we have invested nearly $800 million in system upgrades including:
- Replacing hundreds of wood utility poles and installing new steel poles capable of withstanding winds up to 120 miles per hour
- Constructing new substations in Atlantic, Cape May, and Gloucester Counties.
- Installing new automation devices designed to isolate outages and restore power more quickly
- Upgrading approximately 210 circuits for better performance
- Adding hundreds of miles of sturdier wire to resist damage from storms
- Tree trimming and vegetation management along thousands of miles of power lines to help prevent outages and system damage
- Adhering to FEMA flood elevation standards when constructing new substations and other critical equipment
“We are investing in smarter, more modern equipment that is providing our customers with better and faster service,” said Vince Maione, Atlantic City Electric region president. “We’ll continue making investments over the next several years to enhance our electric infrastructure, as well as trimming trees and other preventative maintenance work to further improve service reliability for our customers.”
Severe storms seem to be the new normal, but we are prepared to tackle whatever Mother Nature brings. At Atlantic City Electric, we will continue enhancing our infrastructure, making it more resilient for when the next big one decides to pay us a visit.