As part of its ongoing efforts to improve customer service reliability, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has announced plans to invest nearly $200 million in 2013 to expand and strengthen its existing infrastructure in northern and central New Jersey, and continue rebuilding efforts in communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Under the company’s service reliability program, major projects scheduled for this year include completing a new substation, building new circuits, replacing underground cables, inspecting and replacing utility poles and ongoing vegetation management programs.
“In addition to the $200 million we invested last year and the hundreds of millions spent on JCP&L’s infrastructure during the Hurricane Sandy restoration effort, we are making a substantial investment this year to continue to improve the quality of service we provide our customers,” said Don Lynch, president of JCP&L. “These infrastructure investments are designed to improve day-to-day service reliability now, along with ensuring our system is ready for future load growth.”
JCP&L’s 2013 reliability projects have both localized and widespread benefits to customers throughout the service area. Planned projects include:
· Investing more than $2.5 million to upgrade more than 90 distribution circuits in a variety of communities to enhance service reliability. The improvements — adding animal guards, spacer cable, fuses and installing new wire — are expected to reduce outages on key distribution lines that serve well over 100,000 customers in northern and central New Jersey.
· Completing a new circuit in the Riverdale-Butler area in northeastern Morris County to provide capacity for increasing load growth and protection against loss of electric supply.
· Inspecting and proactively replacing utility poles. This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle. Inspections will begin in the spring, with replacement work scheduled to be completed throughout the fall.
· Completing and energizing the Tewksbury substation in Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, which will provide additional circuits designed to enhance the local distribution system and shorten the duration of power outages. The project, which is expected to cost nearly $4 million, is slated for completion this summer.
· Constructing a circuit between the Howell and Larabee substations to better support load growth and reliability for customers in Farmingdale and Howell Township, Monmouth County.
· Replacing underground distribution cables in Manchester Township, Ocean County.
· Installing new poles and conductors to allow power to be transferred from one circuit to another in the Riverdale area of Morris County. The project will improve reliability and enable additional capacity for more than 1,700 customers in the area.
· Installing equipment to help maintain proper voltage levels, which is expected to benefit JCP&L’s industrial and large commercial customers that operate large motors, drives and machinery.
· Completing a review of substations and switching stations at risk of flooding to propose hardening measures.
· Vegetation management to trim trees, maintain proper clearances and mitigate potential damage to distribution facilities from falling tree limbs.
The multi-year Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement (LITE) program began in 2011 and represents an additional $200 million investment by JCP&L. For 2013, JCP&L has more than $17 million of LITE projects scheduled to be completed including:
· Upgrading the existing 230 kV line to increase capacity to meet growing demand in Monmouth and northern Ocean County.
· Constructing a new 115 kV line from Englishtown Substation in Monmouth County to Wyckoff Substation, in Hightstown, Mercer County, to increase capacity and improve reliability in the Hightstown and East Windsor areas.
· Upgrading Eaton Crest Substation in Eatontown, Monmouth County, by installing new 230 kV transmission facilities to increase capacity and improve reliability to Eatontown and Tinton Falls areas.
· Installing new equipment at Raritan Substation in Sayreville, Middlesex County, to add redundancy and increase reliability in Sayreville and South Amboy areas. This work is in addition to repairing flood damage to parts of the substation following Hurricane Sandy.
Since 2001, JCP&L has invested more than $1.8 billion in capital improvements to its distribution network. In addition, in 2012 JCP&L invested hundreds of millions to repair and replace equipment damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
JCP&L is a unit of FirstEnergy Corp. (FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.