Jersey Central Power & Light is conducting aerial inspections of its overhead transmission power lines in northern and central New Jersey as part of the company's $200 million investment this year to improve service reliability.

The aerial patrols – which began March 4 and will continue through March 16, weather permitting – are done in the spring and fall each year to help identify areas of JCP&L's transmission system that could need maintenance. The patrols also are a key component of the company's ongoing vegetation management program that is designed to keep trees away from power lines and prevent tree-related outages.

During the inspection process, specialists from Haverfield, the contractor hired to perform the patrols, will use distinctive white and blue helicopters to hover low and slow above transmission lines and substations to identify potential problem areas.

"Utilizing helicopters to inspect our circuits is an efficient way to check the operational condition of our power lines and other equipment," said Craig Hotchkiss, director, Operations Services, JCP&L. "Our comprehensive inspection program allows us to identify and fix potential problem areas before they result in service interruptions for our customers."

The aerial inspections are part of JCP&L's recently announced $200 million investment program for 2012 designed to improve service reliability and to help meet northern and central New Jersey's increasing need for electricity. Overall, since 2001, JCP&L has invested more than $1.6 billion in capital improvements to its distribution network.