PSE&G will install new electrical poles starting in May


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EAST BRUNSWICK–In an effort to improve the reliability of its systems,  PSE&G will be replacing numerous electrical poles in East Brunswick.

PSE&G Senior Public Affairs Manager Frank Lucchesi said that over the past year-and-a-half PSE&G has been making a significant investment in infrastructure throughout its entire service territory. 

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“We are replacing and upgrading a lot of aging transmission infrastructure, switching our distribution network, which is the wood poles lines that you see in the streets that feed our customers,” Lucchesi said during the Feb. 25 East Brunswick Township Council meeting. “We are replacing bare steel cast iron mains in our gas distribution network. All of this is being done to improve the reliability to our system and create a safe, reliable redundant and a resilient network for our customers and to minimize the length of outages.”

Lucchesi said as part of the project, PSE&G will be doing upgrades at the Harts Lane station. The transition upgrades are part of PSE&G’s Metuchen Trenton Burlington (MTB) Project that will replace and enhance the transmission backbone from PSE&G’s Metuchen switching station in Edison through East Brunswick, ending at the switching station in Burlington.

“We will be replacing aging … powers with monopole systems and upgrading our services to 230 kV from its current capacity of 138 kV,” Lucchesi said. “We are also in the progress of upgrading and in some cases building new sub-transmission stations particularly here in East Brunswick. The Harts Lane station will be upgraded in the coming years [and] scheduled to begin in November of 2019 with an in-service date of 2022.”

Lucchesi said Harts Lane station is a critical station that serves PSE&G customers who live in the township. 

“As we upgrade these stations it is equally important that we upgrade the distribution network. … This includes a higher voltage connectivity between the stations and a pole replacement project that will create a network that will allow our stations to now work together especially in the event of a major outage,” Lucchesi said. 

Lucchesi said that PSE&G has identified some weaknesses in South Brunswick and the township and will be constructing a brand new station in South Brunswick, which it calls the Melridge Station.

“We will need to connect the new Melridge Station to our Harts Lane Station. … So for the Melridge to Harts Lane project … it will be a distribution upgrade which will upgrade and increase the reliability of the Harts Lane station. It will replace the infrastructure [such as] the poles, wires and hardware,” Lucchesi said. “We will install lighting protection along that route as well. It will give us relief from our Plainsboro station.” 

By connecting the Melridge Station to the Harts Lane Station, Lucchesi said this will help relieve potential overload on PSE&G’s Plainsboro Station, as well as give relief to the Devils Brook Station Culver Road.

As part of connecting both stations, Lucchesi said there will be a pole replacement portion of the project that is planned to start in May and will take approximately 18 months to complete.

“There are approximately 230 poles that will be replaced … so those poles that are currently there right now, new poles will be set and the old poles will be removed. So there will be like-for-like replacement and the poles are taller and in a larger diameter,” Lucchesi said. “The current poles out there are around 45 feet, the new poles are 65 feet; however 57 feet of that pole is what’s exposed as we [will] set those poles a little bit deeper.”  

Lucchesi said PSE&G is installing higher poles because it must conform to national safety standards and also because a higher pole is needed when there is an increase in voltage. Currently, the 26 kV circuit will increase to a 69 kV circuit.

PSE&G will work on Church Lane, Dunhams Corner Road, Ryders Lane and Milltown Road, according to Lucchesi.

Lucchesi said the new poles will be installed next to the old poles and PSE&G will coordinate with Verizon to remove the old poles. 

“We set the new poles, transfer the services over, sometimes if you see if there are poles that are co-owned with the other utilities that will be with Verizon and with the cable companies and some fiber companies as well,” Lucchesi said. “When we’re done transferring over the services we end up sheering the top of the pole so sometimes they look a lot shorter. That gives the indication when we coordinate with Verizon and the cable companies to then come and do the transfer and then they end up pulling a pole.”

PSE&G Public Outreach Representative Kendall Demi John said the company will let homeowners know about the construction seven to 10 days prior to construction start date. The company will mail letters to the residents and even go door to door. On each letter that will be sent out, there is a number where residents can get in contact with John to learn more information. 

PSE&G Supervisor of Vegetation Managemen Jay Kaplan said in conjunction with the pole replacements, since they are bigger poles and it’s a higher voltage, PSE&G needs an efficient clearance of trees.

Kaplan said PSE&G will replace any trees it removes.

“Not every resident who we remove a tree for wants a replacement, so in that case, we will be giving the town that replacement tree, so the town won’t be down any trees,” Kaplan said. 

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