Mayor Says New System Will 'Keep Everyone Safer Through Next Storm'

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Officials are hoping to reduce power outages during future storms in Hoboken by designing a “smart grid” system using military-inspired technology.

The Hudson River came pouring into the streets of Hoboken when Superstorm Sandy struck cutting off road access, putting the hospital out of commission, stranding residents in elevators, disabling sewer pumps and knocking out power for days.

“Unfortunately, when heavy rains and high tide come at the same time, we get flooded, including our PSE&G substations,” Mayor Dawn Zimmer said.

Now, Hoboken is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Energy, N.J. Board of Public Utilities, Sandia National Labs and PSE&G to develop a resilient electric grid.

“We are proud of the reliability of our system, which has been nationally recognized,” said PSE&G president and COO Ralph LaRossa. “But the extreme weather in the past two years calls for extraordinary measures to harden our systems.”

Zimmer said the new system “will help to keep everyone safer through the next storm.”

“It means keeping the power on at Hoboken University Medical Center, it means keeping North Hudson Sewerage Authority operational so that our flood pumps can keeping pumping,” Zimmer said.

Board of Public Utilities President Robert Hanna said the plan could include solar and natural gas powered back-up generation to keep essential services running even when the grid is down.

“We do know there will be more storms, we don’t know how frequently they’ll come, we don’t know how severe they’ll be, we don’t know where exactly they’re going to hit so that to me means we have to prepare for the worst,” Hanna said.

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