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Severe Wind Storm Damages Electric System in New Jersey

Aug. 1, 2019
Wind gusts toppled trees and caused damage in Jersey Power & Light's service territory in late July.

Damaging thunderstorms brought wind gusts exceeding 70 mph and torrential rains to Jersey Power & Light's service territory in late July. Linemen restored power to more than 104,000 customers a day after the storm. By 11:30 a.m. that day, about153,600 customers were still out of service in the hardest-hit areas. 

Significant tree damage and flooding slowed access to many areas, and JCP&L crews addressed more than 1,000 safety hazards and nearly 140 road closures while evaluating damage and isolating equipment to enable repairs to be made. Due to the extent of damage, restoration activities were expected to take several days. 

About 1,100 JCP&L linemen, damage assessors, hazard responders, forestry personnel, dispatchers and contractors worked to restore customer outages. JCP&L resources from the northern part of the state were redirected to assist in central New Jersey. In addition, about 700 line workers and 275 hazard responders, damage assessors and public protectors from other FirstEnergy utilities and contractors were on-site or in transit to assist with restoration efforts in central New Jersey. Two staging sites for the additional resources were also set up.

"Our crews are working around the clock to restore customers who lost power due to last night's severe thunderstorms," says Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. "The high winds resulted in significant tree-related damage to our system, including broken poles and downed wires that will need to be replaced. We will continue to deploy additional resources as necessary until all customers have had service restored."

As part of its storm restoration process, JCP&L activated its Emergency Command Center and Incident Command System. The utility also ramped up storm updates on social media and the company Web site and communicated with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about storm restoration efforts. The company also staffed additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices. 

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