Profile: She’s Up to the Task of Getting Power to the People of New Jersey

Kim Hanemann is leading efforts by Public Service Electric & Gas to invest billions of dollars in its transmissions system to improve reliability for customers

Kim Hanemann
Who she is: The vice president of delivery projects and construction, Kim Hanemann is a PSE&G lifer, joining the state’s largest gas and electric utility as an engineer in 1986 after graduating from Lehigh University. Besides a Bachelor of Science in engineering, she holds an MBA from the Rutgers School of Management.

Why she matters: Transmission projects have moved to the forefront of where PSE&G makes its capital investments. In the next five years, the utility expects to spend $10 billion — a 40 percent increase from its projections just a year ago. It means the cost of delivering electricity from power plants to distribution facilities will continue to be a growing part of the consumer’s utility bill.

Why she loves her job: When she started in her current job, Hanemann oversaw a staff of approximately 40 people. She now manages 575 employees. “It’s like creating a startup company within the utility. There’s a lot of energy and excitement.’’

Why her job is difficult: Trying to build a new transmission line through the nation’s most densely populated state, not to mention the environmental constraints that come when projects are located in undeveloped areas. This is just what happened with the utility’s controversial Susquehanna-Roseland line through three segments of the national park system.

Which leads to her biggest challenge: “You can’t get a bigger right-of-way anywhere,’’ Hanemann said. “Our biggest challenge is figuring out how to build the systems in the existing rights-of-way.’’

Why new transmission lines are needed: “You look at the three construction projects we are completing this year (Susquehanna-Roseland, North Central, Burlington-Camden). The initial structures were built in the 1920s. At some point, they need to be replaced. It’s like a bridge or anything else,’’ she said.

Is distributed generation (new power plants off the grid) a threat to the utility? Not so much. “Distributed generation is a point solution. You still need the means to bring in power from other areas. What’s your backup and how do you bring in power when your facility goes down?’’ Hanemann asked.

What you may not know about her: Hanemann was named one of NJ Biz’s top 50 women in business in 2013.

Her passion: Being a member of the foundation of the Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick.

Her family: She lives in Bridgewater with her husband and three children.

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