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Jersey Central Power & Light Invests $97 Million to Harden System

JCP&L will expand its vegetation management program, address the tree damage to its distribution system caused by severe weather events and work to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has reached a settlement with the staff of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the NJ Division of Rate Counsel and the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition (NJLEUC) for its JCP&L Reliability Plus Infrastructure Investment Program. 

JCP&L Reliability Plus builds on service reliability enhancements made by JCP&L in recent years with an additional $97 million in targeted investments aimed at addressing tree damage to the distribution system caused by severe weather events and reducing the frequency and duration of power outages. The work would be completed between June 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020.

The program was created following an analysis of JCP&L's existing distribution system as well as lessons learned from restoration efforts following recent severe weather events. It includes investments beyond what is normally spent to enhance JCP&L's service reliability, including more than 1,400 projects to help enhance the reliability and resiliency of overhead distribution lines, replace existing equipment with new smart technology devices and expand the vegetation management program to address tree-related outages.  Once the projects are complete, JCP&L expects that customers will experience fewer sustained outages under normal conditions as well as a reduction in outage duration.

"We have taken great care to ensure that JCP&L Reliability Plus focuses on the enhancements that have the most reliability benefit for our more than one million New Jersey customers," said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L.  "The enhancements implemented through this program will help reduce the frequency of power outages, address tree damage during severe weather events, provide more flexibility for operating the system and help modernize our electric grid in New Jersey."

The cost of JCP&L Reliability Plus will be recovered under a new rate provision included as part of the distribution charge on a customer's bill.  Over the course of the program, the average JCP&L residential customer using 768 kilowatt hours per month is expected to see a 0.5 percent overall rate increase, which equates to a monthly increase of about 50 cents.   

Key JCP&L Reliability Plus projects include:

  • Overhead circuit hardening and reliability – installing new electronic fuses to reduce the duration of outages caused by temporary obstructions; removal of overhanging limbs near JCP&L power lines and equipment in identified areas.
  • Distribution automation – installing technology that can automatically detect damage on the system, safely isolate it and quickly restore the majority of customers served on a line, reducing the number of customers out of service until repairs are made; adding additional communications equipment to aid real-time monitoring of the distribution system to promote more rapid service restoration.
  • Substation reliability enhancement – installing flood mitigation measures and enhanced equipment to harden substations, making them less susceptible to storm damage; adding a mobile substation that may be transported to an outage location to help restore customers more rapidly while permanent repairs are made.

JCP&L, a FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary, serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers. Visit www.jcp-l.com to learn more. 

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