Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is closely monitoring Hurricane Joaquin and is making preparations should possible high winds and flooding hit parts of its northern and central New Jersey service territory and cause power outages.
Some of the aggressive storm preparation steps that have been taken include JCP&L crews setting up specially designed flood barriers and pumps in several key substations as an added precaution should rising water levels cause any issues with the electrical system.
JCP&L also has contacted International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Locals 102 and 400 about the possibility of securing additional hazard responders during storm restoration efforts, if needed. In 2013, JCP&L was the first utility in New Jersey to develop an initiative to use local electrical union members to assist with storm restoration activities, especially protecting the public from downed wires.
"As we prepare for this storm, we are implementing many of the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, including using new technology and processes to help accelerate the restoration efforts," said Tony Hurley, JCP&L vice president of Operations. "We also are working to secure additional linemen and other personnel to assist with outage restoration efforts, and have engaged our staging site vendor, if needed."
Based on weather forecasts from company meteorologists, JCP&L has staffed additional dispatchers and analysts at its regional dispatch offices, and has put additional line, substation and forestry personnel on notice that they will be needed should severe weather occur. In addition, contractors have been notified they could be required to assist with storm restoration efforts over the next several days.
Other steps JCP&L is taking to prepare for Hurricane Joaquin include:
- Preparing to activate its Emergency Command Center and Incident Command System
- Communicating with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about our storm preparation efforts
- Beginning preliminary planning for staging areas for outside crews and equipment
- Working with mutual assistance groups to arrange for outside utility crews to assist in New Jersey.
FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link at www.firstenergycorp.com.
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive important information in advance of major storms, and updates on 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.
More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.