A project to increase the reliability of Teaneck’s electric supply is awaiting a zoning board hearing, as the summer could bring power demands beyond the capacity of decades old technology serving the area, Public Service Electric and Gas officials said.
At a public workshop Wednesday night, PSE&G detailed plans to upgrade a power substation on the Teaneck-Bergenfield border and a station on Palisade Avenue, near the Richard Rodda Center. The utility will also upgrade underground and overhead lines in the area.
The Bergenfield project, behind O. DiBella Music, will expand the station's capacity and is a key component in the utility’s efforts to limit outages in the Teaneck-area, said David Hollenbeck, PSE&G’s regional public affairs manager. Most of the station sits in Bergenfield, and borough officials OK’ed the project in July 2011. Teaneck’s zoning board, however, pushed back a March 1 hearing on the work.
“Time is of the essence with these outages,” Hollenbeck said.
The utility will need height and use variances for the project, he said. PSE&G plans to plant trees to hide the expanded station from nearby homes and repave crumbling Meyer Court. A technology called gas-insulted switchgear would be used to house equipment indoors with a smaller building footprint, PSE&G said.
State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a Teaneck resident, attended PSE&G’s workshop and said her office would contact the township in hopes that a special zoning board meeting could be scheduled on the project.
“It seems, from what I’ve seen, to be a very appropriate plan,” Weinberg said. “It seems like a good project to reduce outages.”
Weinberg credited the utility with taking steps to inform area residents about the project. Although Wednesday's meeting at the was sparsely attended, a range of utility officials were on hand to answer questions.
PSE&G hopes to start work at the Bergenfield substation in May 2012 and be finished by June 2013, although officials said a schedule had not been finalized.
The project could cause intermittent traffic delays, but Hollenbeck said the utility would work with local police and keep residents informed.
Teaneck’s substation on Palisade Avenue and Colonial Court will also be upgraded, Hollenbeck said.
Additional transformers would be added as backups in case equipment goes down, said Project Manager Marian LaBos. Upgrades are also needed to meet growing demand in the area.
“We can’t just keep pumping energy through the system,” LaBos said. “It has to be appropriately sized.”
Design plans for the Teaneck substation are not finalized and would be presented to township officials, the company said. Construction was anticipated to last from October 2012 until June 2013. In addition to substation work, PSE&G said it would replace utility poles and overhead lines around Teaneck between March 2012 and May 2013. Underground road construction was planned between March and April.
Both the Teaneck and Bergenfield stations were built around 50 years ago, officials said. The company's upgrades are designed to limit the chance of outages for 82,000 customers in towns including Teaneck, Bergenfield, New Milford, Englewood and Leonia.