NJ Spotlight Conference Examines NJ After Sandy

John Mooney | June 21, 2013 | More Issues, Planning, Sandy
Panelists examine whether New Jersey’s water, energy and power infrastructure can weather next big storm

Is New Jersey’s infrastructure ready for the next Hurricane Sandy?

NJ Spotlight last week hosted a full-day conference in Trenton on the readiness of New Jersey’s water, energy and power infrastructure in the wake of the 2012 superstorm.

Former Gov. James Florio gave the keynote address at the conference held at the Trenton War Memorial, which drew more than 140 attendees.

The following videos are of each of the conference’s three panels, as well as Florio’s speech. We invite our readers to share their thoughts in the comments section.

Keynote Speaker Former Gov. James Florio

Florio has been out of the governor’s office for more than a decade, but his opinions have hardly tempered in that time. In a lunchtime address, New Jersey’s 49th governor spoke of the long-term challenges facing the state, financial and otherwise, sometimes counter to the currently prevailing politics in the state.

New Jersey’s Aging Water Infrastructure

New Jersey’s water infrastructure is falling apart. The state needs to spend more than $40 billion to fix a water distribution system that leaks at least 20 percent of the treated water it delivers to homeowners and businesses. Much of the money needs to be spent upgrading wastewater treatment plants, some of which dumped — after Sandy — hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into state waters, a source of drinking water for millions.


  • Richard S. Dovey, President, Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA)
  • Robert E. Hughey, Member, Leadership Group, Facing Our Future
  • Michele Siekerka, Assistant Commissioner Water Resource Management, NJ Department of Environmental Protection
  • Stephen P. Schmitt, VP of Operations, New Jersey American Water
  • The Power Grid in the Aftermath of Sandy

    With 2.7 million people without power following Sandy, some for up to two weeks, what can be done to make the state’s electric system more resilient in the event of extreme storms? A recent report from a blue-ribbon panel suggests the state needs to invest close to $9 billion to make the grid more reliable.


  • Sara Bluhm, VP Environment, Energy & Federal Affairs, New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA)
  • Stefanie Brand, Director, NJ Division of Rate Counsel
  • Ralph LaRossa, President & Chief Operating Officer, Public Service Electric & Gas
  • Dr. Edward Salmon, Chairman, NJ Energy Coalition; former President, Board of Public Utilities
  • Dennis Wilson, President, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA)
  • Distributed Generation: The Wave of the Future

    New Jersey’s power grid — particularly in the northern part of the state — is among the most congested in the country, adding huge costs to consumers’ electric bills. Developing new, distributed power generation technologies is one way of dealing with the problem. This approach has prevented outages at facilities like hospitals and water treatment plants.


  • Gearoid Foley, NJ Director, Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Application Center, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Pamela Frank, VP, Gabel Associates, LLC
  • Bob Kudrick, Manager, Business Development for Combined Heat and Power, Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources
  • Jeff Perry, Chief Development Officer, Veolia Energy North America
  • Stephen Poniatowicz, Senior VP and Chief Operating Officer, Marina Energy