Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is ready to respond to power outages caused during the hurricane season, which runs June 1, 2013, through Nov. 30, 2013.
As one of 10 FirstEnergy Corp. utilities, JCP&L is able to use FirstEnergy's certified meteorologists' access to National Hurricane Center data to help predict any hurricane or tropical storm's impact on JCP&L's central and northern New Jersey service areas. This information is used to help pre-position outside personnel and resources in New Jersey prior to the weather event occurring.
If major storms strike, JCP&L can call on thousands of line workers, hazard responders, forestry workers and support personnel from FirstEnergy's other utilities that can be deployed to New Jersey to help restore service to customers as quickly as possible. In addition, JCP&L has access to several utility industry mutual assistance organizations that could provide additional resources to help restore service to customers, if necessary.
"One of the key benefits of being part of a big company like FirstEnergy is that we have large-scale resources that can be deployed to areas with the most severe damage," said Anthony Hurley, vice president Operations, JCP&L. "In addition, our storm process is the same for all of our utilities, which means when crews from Ohio or West Virginia arrive in New Jersey, they can begin work immediately on behalf of our customers."
When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey last year, JCP&L responded with the largest mobilization of crews, equipment, material and support in the company's history. Ultimately, more than 13,000 linemen and forestry workers, as well as thousands of support staff, joined the massive restoration effort.
As part of its hurricane preparation efforts, JCP&L will be conducting a storm drill on June 20, 2013, at its Morristown, N. J., headquarters that will involve company operations and support personnel, representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, and staff from the New Jersey Bureau of Public Utilities. The drill is designed to enhance and refine the communication process between the company and governmental agencies when a major weather event impacts the region.
As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance system reliability, in 2013 JCP&L and its vegetation management contractors have trimmed more than 1,900 circuit miles of electric lines, with an additional 1,600 circuit miles expected to be completed by year end.
The tree trimming and vegetation management work is done on a four-year cycle to ensure proper clearances around electric circuits and equipment and is designed to help reduce tree-related outages, particularly during severe weather. Vegetation is inspected and trees are pruned in a manner that preserves the health of the tree and observes legal requirements, while also maintaining safe and reliable electric service for customers. In some cases, trees that present a danger or are diseased may also be removed.
System Reliability Projects
JCP&L has completed multiple projects throughout its northern and central New Jersey service areas that are expected to enhance customer service reliability. The work included rebuilding transmission lines, upgrading substation equipment, and rebuilding infrastructure and reconnecting service to homes on the barrier islands that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. With customers expected to use more electricity during the summer months, the company focused on completing major repairs and conducting ongoing maintenance prior to June 1, 2013.
The largest project was energizing the rebuilt Whippany-Roseland 230 kV transmission line. This $12-million project included replacing 19 older style towers with new steel monopoles.
JCP&L also is continuing work on its Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement (LITE) Program, a $200 million, multiyear plan that ultimately will encompass up to 50 transmission and sub-transmission projects designed to enhance system reliability.