Dorsa: Thank you very much. Good evening everyone. So I’m delighted to be here with all of you. I have to say it’s been a pleasure working with Andrew and being interviewed for this magazine. I will say, when I first saw the cover, I sort of reacted that I didn’t think what was on the cover was what I said, because I didn’t really remember saying I was unshakable. I’m thinking—my husband’s feeling pretty good about that. I did Google it to find out that alternative spellings are okay, so then I decided I could press on. I just thought I’d point that out in case you were drawing any other conclusion
It’s really a pleasure to be here with all of you tonight. Delighted to have a chance to chat with you a little bit and accept this really great honor from Andrew ?thank you Andrew and all the folks at CFO Studio. You’ve just been terrific to work with through all of this. Let me also add my thanks to JP Morgan Chase, Deloitte, Robert Half and the Devils. It was really great that the gentleman from Deloitte didn’t say, “Thank you for all the disasters.” And, yes, I will need to become a Devil’s fan, so I’m going to work on that, but it’s going to take a little time.
There are so many fine organizations here tonight that have been such a part of New Jersey for such a long time. I’m hoping that many of you are PS customers, so those who are PS customers, raise your hands? That’s great. Oh, wow, fantastic. Terrific. So thank you particularly for being here tonight as well.
I want to just say that, we really are grateful Andrew to you and CFO Studio magazine. What you provide is really a great resource for us. The articles and the insights you publish, but importantly, it’s an opportunity for us as CFOs and as folks in finance to really share ideas and thoughts and perspectives. In addition to doing that of course you run roundtables and forums and dinners and I’m looking forward to joining some of those as well.
I think at the end of the day, what magazines like yours do is help people recognize that CFOs are about more than the numbers. They’re about the strategy. They’re about using numbers to make the right decisions. So they’re about the making the right decisions, while being about things like strong controlled environments and ethics, etc.
So it’s a fascinating field. It’s a great career, and it’s one where magazines like this help us appreciate that it’s more than just being about the numbers. I encourage all of you to take advantage of what CFO Studio provides because finance is really such an important thing for everyone, right. So it’s important for many of us who practice it in our careers, but for those of you who also think about other ways finance can be important.
I just want to point out that many of us at PS are involved with is volunteering at different organizations, and I try to spend some time helping others think and learn about finance. I’ve been so fortunate since coming to PS to be involved with Junior Achievement, which is an organization that is really involved with financial literacy for our young teens and pre-teens.
This year, PS made an additional grant to Junior Achievement of $40,000 dollars, to help them help students understand and appreciate finance and financial literacy, which they will need all through out their lives.
I would encourage all of you, as we think about how finance has helped us in our careers and as we practice it, to also think about how we can give back. Catherine Milone, who is president of Junior Achievement and someone whom I admire tremendously, is here in the audience, and I just wanted to point her out. Thank you Catherine for coming, and thank you for all the work you do for the young people in New Jersey, since it is the hometown for all of us.
Speaking of teams, before I talk a little bit more about some things at PS, but I’d just like to take a moment to mention how fortunate I am to work with a terrific team of folks at PS. I’m sure all of us think about our roles in our respective organizations and know that we don’t perform them alone. We don’t have the capability to perform them alone, and I am supported by a tremendous team of colleagues that I work with on a day-today basis, both my own team in finance as well as colleagues throughout the organization, many of whom are here tonight. I just want to thank you all for joining me. You really are the best team in the business.
I thought I’d just spend a quick moment telling you a little bit about PSEG’s strategy and some of the things that we are working on right now for the State of New Jersey. Our strategy has three pretty straightforward tenets, although they’re quite complicated when you get into implementation. Operational excellence, which is about everything we do, 365 days a year, 24/7. We’re serving our customers with reliability. We’re really proud to be able to say we’ve been recognized for things like our reliability five times in the last nine years, and certainly for more than ten years in a row in our region.
Financial strength goes along with reliability. And then disciplined investment, which is certainly near and dear to my heart, which is all about how do you make your choices to make investments. I think what’s been really the source of the success that PSEG has had over the last 100 years, is the same reasons that we’re successful today. We have an aligned team. We have an alignment around our strategy. Starts with our board of directors. Starts with our fabulous CEO Ralph Izzo, and it really flows all the way down through the rest of the organization.
We were founded over 100 years ago. We are dedicated to New Jersey. It’s no accident that the first two words in our name are Public Service because that’s what we’re really all about. Our mission is to provide service to our communities through reliable sources of energy. We provide that service to about two million customers here in the State of New Jersey, and we really spend a lot of time ensuring that we are safe, our employees are safe, our service is reliable and that we are green. We spend a lot of money on environmental remediation because we really care sustainably about the future of New Jersey.
Last year, we all went through the biggest storm in our history. Super Storm Sandy knocked out power to about 1.9 million of our 2 million customers. So by far the largest storm that’s ever happened to us. And it followed other storms that had been really different from the kinds of storms that we’ve seen before.
We had a monumental task to restore service. We had friends come from other companies, from 24 states and from Canada to help us, but we really need to do more to help our community be more resilient for the next potential storms that we have. So that’s made it clear to us as a company that for the next 100 years, for what we need to do to be a good servant to the public and to provide the reliability, is to do more to invest in our community.
In February of this year, we proposed a new program where we want to invest up to three point nine billion dollars over the next ten years, to make our system stronger, more resilient, more able to withstand the kinds of storms that we had, the kinds of things that if we had in place before, would have allowed more of our customers to stay with power. And while we did a great job restoring power, our job is not restoring power. Our job is keeping the power there reliably.
We see this as a cornerstone of what we’re all about and what we’re looking to do going forward. We see an opportunity to do this as well because there’s opportunity in our customer’s bills that will otherwise be rolling off some charges in the next few years, that allows us to do this in a way that can make it relatively neutral for the bills of our customers, while providing incredibly enriched reliability.
These programs will not just benefit customers, which many of you are, but members of the community as well. The program that we’re proposing would also create in excess of 5000 jobs in the State of New Jersey. Not all jobs in our company, but also jobs for our contractors, jobs for our suppliers, many of whom are right here in the State of New Jersey.
So we see a lot of opportunity in the future. We’re very excited about the opportunity that we have to make more investment in this state. We really think of ourselves as providing that kind of reliability, and we hope to have the opportunity to do that. One of the things I’m really happiest about is, given the way we’ve been managing the company over many past years, we can come to it with one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry. We come to it with the ability to make this investment in ways that are friendly, both for our customers in reliability, but without issuing equity, and so friendly for our shareholders as well.
So I hope you’ll support us in our efforts to try to support our communities even better as we go into the future. We look forward to doing a lot of good things for the State of New Jersey for all of you who are our customers and continuing to serve our community.
So thank you very much and thank you again for this fabulous opportunity and award. Thank you.