Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, has completed inspections and conducted equipment maintenance projects across its 13-county service area to enhance customer service reliability as part of its annual summer preparedness plan. The company is also ready to respond to power outages caused during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30, 2020, and is predicted to be particularly active this year. JCPL
In preparation for the summer season and associated high temperatures and humidity, JCP&L has completed helicopter patrols and other maintenance related inspections on more than 780 miles of transmission lines located in the JCP&L territory. The inspections are designed to look for potential tree-related issues, damaged wires, broken cross arms, failed insulators and switches and other hardware problems not easily detected from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections are safely and quickly addressed.
On the ground, the inspections include using “thermovision” cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with equipment such as transformers and capacitors. By identifying these hot spots, maintenance and repair efforts can be conducted prior to a power outage occurring.
“Since 2016, we have made numerous investments in our infrastructure that benefit customers by enhancing the resiliency and reliability of our system,” said Jim Fakult, president, JCP&L. “Coupled with those investments, these proactive inspections and equipment maintenance measures will help ensure system reliability to meet an increased demand for electricity during the summer months and enhance our readiness to respond to power outages during the hurricane season.”
As part of its hurricane preparation planning, FirstEnergy’s certified meteorologists use 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.
In addition, JCP&L is closely monitoring the area surrounding the Barrier Island Peninsula because of its attraction to tourism during the summer months and vulnerability to severe weather. When tropical storms and hurricanes make landfall, the first areas they hit are barrier islands – thin ribbons of sand that line the Atlantic Coast and absorb much of a storm’s force, reducing wave energy and protecting inland areas.
If a major storm strikes, 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. The company has worked with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) as well as vendors and contractors to revise operational and logistical planning during storms in light of the coronavirus health emergency. Measures have been implemented to ensure all established health and safety protocols can be properly followed, allowing responding personnel to focus on their mission of efficiently restoring service.
In addition, JCP&L employees will continue to participate in readiness exercises involving company operations and support personnel, which include representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, and staff from the New Jersey Bureau of Public Utilities. The drills are designed to test the company’s restoration process used to repair storm related outages and enhance and refine the communication process. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.