Piscataway N.J.-- While we aren’t doing work in the township, we currently have a transmission project that runs 55-miles. It’s called the Metuchen-Trenton-Burlington Project (MTB), PSE&G spokesman, Jaye Cavallo, told NJ News Jersey.com, regarding the nature of work observed near some roads in Piscataway and the vicinity.
The MTB is a $739 million “critical” construction investment designed to strengthen the electric transmission system and help PSE&G deliver safe, highly reliable electric service long into the future.
“(Our) 55-mile reliability project replaces critical infrastructure that has reached its ‘end of life’ and improves capacity significantly, while addressing voltage violations in the Metuchen area,” stated PSE&G, adding that on average, its transmission facilities are more than 80-years old.
MTB was approved in 2017 by PJM interconnections, a regional transmission organization responsible for power grids in 12 other states as well.
The MTB “runs from Metuchen through our Trenton switching station and down to Burlington. It’s an end of life project replacing and upgrading the transmission infrastructure along that right of way, and upgrading the voltage from 138,000 to 230,000 volts,” Cavallo said.
Power grid broken up into various parts
The major transmission is the higher voltage line and feeds high voltage to the sub stations. In turn, the sub stations take the higher voltage and downgrade it to a lower voltage then fed it out to the public. It then goes from higher voltage through the station and comes out lower then goes out through the distribution system.
The distribution system along the utility poles also has transformers that lower the voltage. Ultimately it gets to the service points for customers at the voltage that goes into the home, said Cavallo.
“In order for it to travel long distances it has to be a higher voltage – that would be the (work of the) transmission system,” he said.
As an analogy, the transmission system is like the highway system and the distribution system is like the local roads. (The highway is equal to high speeds and the local roads are equal to lower voltage.)
The MTB involves larger structures, rather than the utility poles on the curbside of the street – the corridor that the transmission system runs across.
Will the public be affected?
Asked if the public would be affected, Cavallo said there would not be any type of service interruption.
“In order for us to upgrade the transmission system we have to take that part of the system out of service (there’s) no impact on the public in terms of service or the way the power grid works.” Cavallo said. “When we take an outage on (any) portion of the line, those customers are fed electricity or service from a different part of the electric grid.”
Why is the MTB needed in the first place?
The overall need for the MTB is to enhance the reliability of the electric service, which is why PSE&G is replacing the transmission line, said Cavallo.
Still, since customers are served by a different part of the power grid, it allows PSE&G to take the transmission system from Metuchen to Burlington out of service, replace it, and put it back into service without any impact to the public.
Therefore, when it returns at 230,000 volts PSE&G is enhancing the reliability of the electric service as a whole.
When will the MTB be completed?
All three segments of the project are expected to be completed by June of 2022.
The three segments include From Metuchen to the Brunswick station in North Brunswick, a segment from Brunswick to Trenton, and a segment from Trenton to Brunswick.
Cavallo said PSE&G has an outreach program. It sends letters to all the properties that are adjacent to the transmission line and may be impacted by any construction.
PSE&G also met with all of the 17 municipalities that the MTB runs through.
“We work with all state, regional and permitting agencies – without permits we can’t do the work,” said Cavallo.
PSE&G also has work going on across the Garden State, including upgrades, or gas and electric utility work, among other routine jobs.
MTB involves 17 municipalities. They span Burlington, Mercer and Middlesex counties, including Edison, Milltown, East Brunswick, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, Plainsboro, West Windsor, Hamilton, Chesterfield, Bordentown, Mansfield, Florence, Springfield, Burlington, Willingboro, and Burlington City, according to PSE&G.
Moreover, the project modifies, upgrades or reconfigures 17 electric stations, including Metuchen Switching Station, Pierson Avenue Substation, Meadow Road Substation, Edison Switching Station, Brunswick Switching Station, Devils Brook Substation, Plainsboro Substation, Dey Road Switch Rack, Forrestal Substation, Trenton Switching Station, Yardsville Substation, Ward Ave Substation, Colonial Pipe, Crosswicks Area Substation, Williams Substation, Bustleton Substation, and Burlington Substation.
NJ NEWS JERSEY Staff Report