There is no disputing the legacy of 2020. This will be forever remembered as the year the coronavirus changed everything. COVID-19 has touched millions of lives, many of them tragically, and its impacts on our world will be felt long after the virus has been brought under control.
The pandemic’s impact on PSEG has been monumental, providing all of us with an opportunity to learn a great deal about our organization and ourselves.
We learned that, as an energy provider, we are more essential than ever. As millions of workers, students and caregivers were asked to stay home to slow the spread of the virus, they relied on the energy we provide to power their video conferences and virtual classrooms, and to keep their homes bright and comfortable. We also supported the critical work healthcare providers were doing to save lives, by ensuring the lights were on and the power was available to energize hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities.
We learned that, as a company, we are resilient. The need to change how we work – whether logging in from home or maintaining physical distance at our worksites – showed us that our power is in our people, and not tied to a workplace or building. We know now that, with a little help from tools and technology, we’re ready to roll with the punches and quick to adapt in the face of adversity.
Finally, we learned that public service truly is part of our DNA. By donating tens of thousands of face masks and gloves to medical providers early in the pandemic, contributing more than $1 million to food banks and other pandemic relief needs, and our employees using personal time to manufacture PPE for first responders and sharing time and resources to help those who are struggling, we demonstrated the generosity behind the name “Public Service.”
Our 2020 challenges were many, but as always, we met those challenges head on and continued to achieve much success. Despite the pandemic, PSEG accomplished a number of milestones worth celebrating.
In any ordinary year, the approval of our historic Clean Energy Future – Energy Efficiency program would have topped the list. The start of PSE&G’s three-year, $1 billion investment will help customers save $1 billion and create thousands of jobs. Most importantly, energy efficiency is central to achieving our Powering Progress vision of helping customers use less energy and cleaner energy and delivering energy more reliably than ever before.
We continued our transformation to a cleaner energy company with a number of firsts, from publishing our inaugural Climate Report in April to announcing our intent to acquire a 25% ownership interest in Ocean Wind which, when complete, will be New Jersey’s first offshore wind project in operation.
This year also brought continued recognition of the excellent performance of PSEG employees, including such honors as placement on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for the 13th consecutive year, the ReliabilityOne Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Mid-Atlantic Metropolitan Service Area for the 19th consecutive year, and Salem and Hope Creek both earning exemplary status from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO). For the first time in their history, both stations are rated at the highest performance level.
Looking forward to 2021, we can already see new milestones on the horizon: Action on the remainder of our Clean Energy Future proposals, seeking investments in electric vehicles, energy storage and the Energy Cloud; the retirement of Bridgeport Harbor Unit 3, completing our exit from coal generation; and the expected start of our responsible reentry process, which promises a new beginning for a reimagined workplace.
Furthermore, 2021 will see us continue to transform our business to a clean energy company through the Strategic Alternatives process. While this endeavor may have its share of obstacles, I have no doubt we will ultimately rise to achieve success. As we do, we are committed to a fair, equitable and transparent process – one that is grounded in treating people with dignity and respect, even in difficult times.
No review of 2020 would be complete without an honest and transparent examination of our progress toward diversity, equity and inclusion. We began the year by amplifying our strong commitment to focus on diversity and inclusion within our organization. And when concerns about social justice came to the nation’s forefront, we continued our introspection and growth, recognizing the need to add equity to the values we expect PSEG to reflect.
Inside our company, we continue to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace by developing our leaders, driving change at the local level, leveraging data to inform decisions, bringing on new programs to highlight areas where we have opportunities, and regularly reviewing and changing our policies and practices.
In the community, we backed our internal DEI efforts with the PSEG Foundation’s $1 million Powering Equity and Social Justice initiative, which made its first $300,000 donation in October to Rutgers University’s Center on Policing and its police reform programs.
Every year, I look forward to compiling this year in review, which provides an opportunity for reflection and renews my appreciation for the talent and dedication of our entire workforce. It’s a chance to step back and admire what we have accomplished together, and to prepare for the challenges that are sure to come. None of our successes would be possible without unshakable commitment to our customers, our communities and our colleagues on the PSEG team.
Thank you for all you have done in 2020, and best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy 2021.