Jersey Central Power & Light completed more than 160 infrastructure projects and other work in 2014 to help enhance service reliability to its 1.1 million customers in northern and central New Jersey.
"About $250 million was budgeted in 2014 for these projects that help enhance day-to-day service reliability for our customers along with maintaining our system's capability to handle future load growth," said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. "When measuring the average outage duration for customers for 2014, our results show a 17 percent improvement compared to 2013 results, which we can largely attribute to the infrastructure work that has been done this year, and in previous years, to make our system more robust."
Some of the key JCP&L projects in 2014 included:
- Completing a $15 million expansion of a substation in Monmouth County, which included adding a new transformer, circuit breaker and control building. The project also provides greater redundancy to benefit 170,000 customers in the county by connecting with existing substations in Red Bank and Tinton Falls.
- Completing the installation of a new circuit breaker and transformer at a substation in Manalapan in Monmouth County at a cost of $1.2 million. The project also included adding two new distribution circuits.
- Completing a $2 million installation of circuit breakers at a substation in Burlington County to provide greater operational flexibility and resiliency for the local and regional transmission network.
- Completing more than $2 million of upgrades, including adding new circuit breakers, at a substation in Raritan River in Middlesex County.
- Starting construction of a $10 million expansion of a substation in West Amwell in Hunterdon County. The project will include a new half-mile transmission line loop to connect the expanded substation with a nearby 230-kilovolt transmission line.
- Completing nearly $6 million of upgrades on 118 distribution circuits across the JCP&L service area. The work included installing more resilient fuses, adding larger cross-arms to increase wire clearance and installing fault indicators to help identify problem areas on a circuit to help expedite the restoration process if an outage occurs.
- Completing upgrades totaling $2.75 million at a substation in Hightstown in Mercer County. The project included installing a new 115 kilovolt circuit breaker for a transmission line that will run from Englishtown to Wyckoff.
- Completing installation of equipment in Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris and Sussex counties that automatically transfers customers to adjacent circuits in the event of an outage.
- Trimming trees to maintain proper clearances along nearly 3,400 miles of power lines at a cost of approximately $24 million.
Service reliability projects planned for in 2015 include new substations, transmission lines and circuit upgrades.
In 2014, JCP&L made it easier for customers to check the progress of service restoration efforts when they experience a power outage. The company's 24/7 Power Center outage maps now display the status of crews restoring service after a power outage. With this enhancement, JCP&L customers can see when crews have been dispatched, when they are working on a repair, and when additional crews or equipment are needed to complete restoration work.
JCP&L customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive billing reminders, weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.
As part of its storm restoration process, in 2014 JCP&L rolled out two new apps that employees can use on mobile devices to automatically enter damage information into the company's outage management system. The new hazard app on company smart phones allows responders in the field to electronically document hazardous situations. Once the hazard assessment is complete, repair crews can use the new damage assessment app on company mobile computers to develop an itemized list of materials and equipment that will be needed to make repairs at damage locations. The app uses a highly detailed map showing JCP&L's circuits.