A reason to celebrate! Gas Hub opens on LI!

Gas Control Center Grand Opening - ribbon cutting event

It was a beautiful fall day as about 200 employees, executives and some special guests took time from their busy schedules to celebrate the opening of the new Long Island Gas Hub on the morning of November 5.

“It was a great moment to come together and celebrate an enormous achievement,” said Ken Daly, President, New York. “This gas hub benefits our local Long Island customers – and it’s the nerve center for all of our 2.4 million gas customers in New York State. Congratulations to all the teams that worked tirelessly to make this Hub a reality.”

New York State Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman, along with Commissioner Patricia Acampora and Long Island Director, Julie Bovey, took tours of the facility and stayed for the ribbon cutting. Commissioner Diane Burman joined separately in the afternoon for a tour and a gas field visit.

Chair Zibelman, making her second visit to the Hub after a town hall visit in 2014, thanked employees and reminded them of the PSC’s focus on reliability, cost, and especially safety. She said she is also looking for utilities to incorporate new gas tools and technologies to drive down costs.

New York State Senator Tom Croci was joined by fellow Senator Jack Martins and offered his great appreciation for all the hard work employees do every day on behalf of Long Island customers. He also said, as a returning veteran and recent converter to natural gas, that he sees domestic gas as a fuel of the future and one very important to Long Island’s development.

The centerpiece: a state-of-the-art Gas Control Center

The Hub came together after years of planning and hard work, including designing and constructing the new, state-of-the-art Gas Control Center, which controls the transmission and distribution systems for all of New York State 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Its mission is to safely operate the gas network, execute Standard Operating Procedures working with field operations, confirm gas supply from pipeline companies, supply power generation, and distribute gas for three New York companies serving 2.4 million customers. It also serves as a redundant system with our Massachusetts Gas Control Center, where each can take over responsibilities for the other should the need arise.

“The new center allows us to prepare for the changes and challenges of tomorrow, including meeting federal compliance requirements,” said John Spink, Vice President, Control Center Operations.

Tom Amerige, Director, Gas Control Center & Meter Data Services, added: “We’re proud of the diverse team of employees we have here from our power plants, I&R, Field Operations and degreed engineers hired from the Merchant Marine Academy. Our new control center features a built-in training center that will cross-train and prepare our team for succession planning.”

Better collaboration, teamwork

A new gas dispatch center, which dispatches work for Long Island gas customers, is conveniently located just a short walk from the control room and other key gas teams. Also at the heart of the Hub is a new emergency operations center, which allows for a more efficient and prepared response in emergencies. The final piece of the Hub coming together was the well-coordinated move of many employees to and from the new facility.

“Creating state-of-the-art gas control and dispatch facilities required a great team, and we had it in our internal team, external architects, construction companies and many other vendors,” said Pat Burns, Director of Facilities Management, whose team oversaw the complexities of the design, build and employee movements. “We also had great user group teams in gas control and dispatch, a first-rate facilities team, and a patient and understanding bunch of employees.”

In total, Pat says, there were 23,000 man hours devoted to the project, all without an OSHA recordable incident. Additionally, from beginning to end, a total of 594 employees were successfully moved in and out of the facility.

After the remarks and some celebratory cake, employees joined in a ribbon cutting ceremony and received a National Grid coffee mug. Employees also signed up for tours of the Gas Control Center during the afternoon.

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