Public Service Electric and Gas Company (New Jersey) will invest in more efficient electric delivery equipment, a move expected to reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions by some 60,000 tons by the year 2020. Energy efficiency is considered the most cost-effective carbon reduction method available, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for new generation. PSE&G will use more energy efficient primary and secondary wires for new overhead installations, install more energy efficient transformers atop utility poles when new or replacement units are needed, and expedite the replacement of aging transformer banks with state-of-the-art units in some of its electrical substations.

Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G, said that the utility will make these investments throughout its service territory, an area that stretches from Bergen County to Camden County, New Jersey. It will involve the annual installation of about 891,000 feet of new or replacement wires and the replacement of 16 aging transformer banks in substations statewide.

The cumulative impact of these changes through the year 2020 is expected to be a reduction of 100 million kWh and approximately 60,000 tons of CO2. The electric that will be saved is enough to power an average home for 14,000 years and the carbon reduction is equivalent to taking 14,000 cars off of the road.

This is the latest in a series of steps the company has recently announced, aimed at helping New Jersey achieve the goals put forth in the state's Energy Master Plan. The goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and reducing the state's energy demand by 20% by 2020. PSE&G recently detailed an initiative to spur investment in solar energy as well as plans to transform its vehicle fleet to one that is cleaner and greener.

"While addressing climate change will require a multi-pronged approach and action on multiple fronts, its critical that we not overlook things that we can do now to help mitigate the problem," LaRossa said. "Investing in technology that reduces energy use can have an immediate impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions."

The U.S. Department of Energy is currently considering mandating higher efficiency standards for transformers. The recommended standards would begin with an initial increase in efficiency in 2009 and require even higher efficiencies starting in 2013. PSE&G is advocating for these national changes and is helping to pave the way for industry investment in this more efficient technology.

PSE&G is already installing the more energy efficient transformers being proposed for use in 2009 and is on track to invest as early as next year in the units that are being proposed for 2013.

"PSE&G's commitment to invest in energy efficiency in its electric distribution system makes it an industry leader in this area," said Susan Coakley, executive director of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP)

"The deployment of more efficient transformers, wires, conductors and other equipment is a win-win for consumers and the environment. It will save energy, reduce line losses in the company's delivery of electricity and, as a result, reduce carbon emissions. NEEP looks forward to continued collaboration with PSE&G to achieve maximum energy efficiency savings for New Jersey and the Northeast region as a whole."