NEW JERSEY – With anticipated higher electric usage and severe weather possible during the hot summer months, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has completed equipment inspections and maintenance throughout its central and northern New Jersey service area to help enhance service reliability for customers.
Nearly 800 miles of high-voltage transmission lines have been inspected via helicopter patrols and on foot to help identify tree-related issues, damaged wires, broken cross arms and other hardware problems. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections are addressed as quickly as possible.
JCP&L personnel also used thermovision cameras to capture infrared images of electrical equipment that can detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that cannot be observed during regular visual inspections. The infrared technology shows heat on a color scale, with brighter colors or “hot spots” indicating areas that could need repairs. These images can identify equipment issues such as loose connections, corrosion and load imbalances, and utility workers are able to make repairs to prevent potential power outages in the future.
In anticipation of increased electric demand due to tourism, JCP&L crews have strategically staged critical equipment, such as mobile substations, closer to Jersey Shore and barrier island communities. This important step will allow crews to respond to the higher demand for electricity and help restore power faster should outages occur following a major weather event. These areas typically absorb much of a hurricane’s or tropical storm’s force as it makes landfall.
In northern New Jersey, flood walls have been tested at substations that are prone to impacts from overflowing rivers and streams during tropical rains. Last year, these measures successfully kept these facilities dry and the power flowing during several tropical events.
JCP&L personnel also participated in a storm restoration drill to test the company’s response to threats associated with the Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1. More than 75 JCP&L staff members and observers from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) took part in the exercise on May 25. Utilizing the federal Incident Command System (ICS), teams practiced restoration plans, communications and collaboration with local governments to prepare for large-scale weather events that may impact the state. Experts are again predicting an “above-average” hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.
“Preparation is key to preventing or minimizing the impact of power outages as hot weather and the hurricane season begin across our state,” said James Fakult, president of New Jersey operations for FirstEnergy. “We have taken important steps to help ensure our customers have safe, reliable electric service throughout the summer months.”
Customers can get tips to prepare in advance of severe weather, and view restoration updates if storms do cause power outages, by visiting FirstEnergy’s 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
With the summer storm season also comes higher-than-usual temperatures and rising energy costs. Customers can take steps to beat the heat while also managing their electricity bill this summer.
The following tips can help customers use electricity wisely during this period of high demand:
- Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow. Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 3 percent less energy during the summer.
- Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.
- During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.
- Seal any leaks with caulk or weather stripping to prevent hot air from sneaking into your home.
- Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.
- Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner must do.
- Payment arrangements and assistance programs are available for customers who need help with their electric bills. For more information, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/billassist.
Summer is also a time when contractors and homeowners spend more time outdoors completing projects. Important outdoor electrical safety tips are available at www.firstenergycorp.com/publicsafety.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.