FAQs - North Central Reliability Project

  1. What will this project do?
  2. Why is this upgrade needed?
  3. How was this route selected?
  4. Where will it go?
  5. When will it be built? 
  6. How much will it cost?
  7. What approvals are you seeking?
  8. Why doesn’t PSE&G focus on energy conservation and alternative energy sources like solar and wind power?
  9. Do the lines produce electric and magnetic fields?
  10. Are electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) harmful?
  11. Who can I contact for more information?

What will this project do?

PSE&G’s North Central Reliability Project will ensure reliable electric power for approximately one -third of New Jersey’s population in the central and northern part of the state by upgrading the transmission system and substations from 138,000-volt (138kV) to 230,000-volt (230kV) operation.

Why is this upgrade needed?

People are using more electricity to power everything from big - screen televisions to computers and the latest kitchen gadgets. The existing transmission system in the project area, some of which dates back to the 1920s, was built before the popularity of computers, large televisions, iPods, cellular phones and other electric devices that have become common in our lives. Population t rends indicate continued growth in the region.

The North Central Reliability Project is a 230kV upgrade designed to deliver the electric power required by New Jersey businesses and residents. The project will relieve transmission system overloads and pro vide better power quality in the region. Contingency analysis has shown that several outages have resulted from voltage violations near the 138kV substations in Essex, Morris, Union, Somerset and Middlesex Counties. The recommended solution to address the se voltage violations is to upgrade and convert the existing overhead transmission circuits, substations and switching stations from 138kV to 230kV.

How was this route selected?

The selected routes follow existing PSE&G rights-of-way for the project from the West Orange Switching Station to the Sewaren Substation, thereby minimizing the construction impact to the surrounding communities.

Where will it go?

Overhead transmission wire upgrades will take place in West Orange, Livingston, Roseland, Florham Park, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Watchung, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Clark, Edison, Metuchen and Woodbridge along the existing PSE&G right of way. Also, seven PSE&G stations will be upgraded to 230kV. They are: West Orange Switching Station, Marion Drive Substation (West Orange), Laurel Avenue Substation (Livingston), Fanwood Substation, New Dover Substation (Edison), Pierson Avenue Substation (Edison) and the Woodbridge Substation (Woodbridge). The line from Metuchen to Sewaren through Woodbridge Substation is already constructed for 230kV.

When will it be built?

After approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, construction began on June 18, 2012. As of June 2014, the project is complete and in-service.

How much will it cost?

The project cost is estimated to be $390 million. What are the benefits to the region? In a word, reliability. The upgrade will help the region’s utilities meet the growing demand for safe, reliable electricity.

What approvals are you seeking?

Under its authority in New Jersey, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU) approved the North Central Reliability Project on June 18, 2012 . PSE&G is seeking approval from the Fanwood Zoning Board for upgrades to the Fanwood Substation on South Avenue.

Why doesn’t PSE&G focus on energy conservation and alternative energy sources like solar and wind power?

PSE&G is committed to initiatives already under way to reduce electric use by boosting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. But even with these alternatives, statewide electric demand is still expected to increase more than 1.4 percent annually. This upgrade is needed to deliver the power needed to meet regional demand.

Do the lines produce electric and magnetic fields?

Electric and magnetic fields are present wherever there is a flow of electric current, whether in wires in the home, electrical appliances, or power lines. Electric fields are produced by the voltage or electrical pressure in a wire and are present even if an appliance is turned off, as long as it is connected to a source of electric power. Magnetic fields are produced whenever there is a flow of electric current through a wire. Electric and magnetic fields are not visible, like other fields such as a gravitational field or a temperature field.

Are electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) harmful?

The overwhelming body of scientific study shows no definitive link between EMF and human health issues. Since 1977, concerns over magnetic fields and possible health effects have been the subject of numerous scientific and regulatory review panels, and extensive research and studies continue to be funded in this field of study.

After nearly 30 years of worldwide research, there are no direct or causal links between electric and magnetic fields and adverse health effects. New Jersey has standards regarding maximum permissible electric fields at the edge of transmission line rights of way. However, there are no state standards with regards to magnetic field levels nor are there any federal rules, regulations or standards for either electric or magnetic field levels.

Magnetic fields from appliances like hair dryers, microwave ovens, and motorized appliances are often stronger than the fields directly beneath power lines. PSE&G will design and install this line according to appropriate state and federal guidelines related to safety and environmental impact.

Learn more about EMF 

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have questions or concerns call our toll free number at 1-877-678-5784.