As part of its ‘Energy Strong’ proposal, PSE&G will invest $3.9bn in its distribution system over a period of 10 years to reduce the number and duration of power outages caused by severe weather.

PSE&G president and chief operating officer Ralph LaRossa said the municipal leaders understand the effect of extended power outages and the need to protect utility systems from natural disasters.

"This year we will spend about $1.8 billion in electric and gas reliability upgrades," LaRossa said.

"These investments have helped PSE&G earn its reputation as one of the nation’s most reliable. electric utilities.

"But the extremes in weather we’ve experienced the past two years require new, extraordinary measures to reinforce our systems before the next Sandy strikes."

PSE&G’s proposal includes protecting over 40 utility installations that were impacted by storm surges, adding backup distribution lines, making electric grid smarter to help identify problems and facilitate service restoration, strategically burying some wires underground and modernizing the gas distribution system.