Field Notes: A Hub of Action in Melville

Editor’s note: From time to time, Dean Seavers will tear a page from his notebook and share what he’s learned from customers, stakeholders, and employees across National Grid’s U.S. footprint.

Dean on field visit at Melville Hub

Melville colleagues Ed Ruszkowski, Paul Travaglia and Don Stuart talk with Dean.

August 10, 2015:  When I look at this photo to the right, what I recall is the enthusiasm of the guys I’m standing with. On a recent visit to our Melville facility on Long Island, I was captivated by their stories of our history in the region. They’re incredibly knowledgeable and they quickly brought me up to speed on just how the hub operates.

The biggest take-away for me? The team’s obvious pride in the new Melville Gas Control Center.

In fact, pride is evident throughout the entire Melville Hub. Downstate, we have a 100-year legacy of providing natural gas service to New York City and Long Island. We serve 1.8 million customers and maintain 12,000 miles of transmission and distribution.

Our workforce at the Hub plays a significant role in the everyday operation and maintenance of our systems, and in investing in energy solutions for tomorrow. Next year we will file two rate cases to ensure the short and long-term vitality of our gas networks serving our KEDNY and KEDLI customers.

Have you heard about the Brooklyn Queens Interconnect? The LI/Rockaway Peninsula Gas Capital Investment Plan? Our new gas safety robotic technologies? All important investments we’re making on behalf of our customers.

Here’s another one – a new state-of-the-art gas control center at Melville for monitoring and controlling the gas system in our downstate and upstate regions.

I was recently treated to a guided tour of the center; it’s in the process of being built and slated to open in November. In efficiency and cost-saving measures, we’ve consolidated from five gas control centers across the U.S. down to two. The center in Melville will operate the NY gas system, while the gas control center in Northborough, MA operates the system in NE.

The two centers can back each other up with the flip of a switch. Operating 365 days per year, 24/7, the Melville and Northborough gas control centers are a picture of smart redundancy and can support each other in the event of a building evacuation or other system emergency.

The Hub also houses the Academy, a center for technical and management training, and I dropped in for a new experience. I learned that high school students are welcome here through our Engineering Pipeline Program. Alongside employees, they explore engineering safety, natural gas operations, electric power systems and smart grid technologies. They are our future workforce.

The future of energy is visible in all that we do in downstate New York. Natural gas expansion and upgrades are perfect examples of Connect21, driving safety and a cleaner energy choice. Thanks again to our Melville colleagues – for their infectious employee pride – and for giving our customers and communities in downstate NY, new and innovative energy solutions.

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