Jersey Central Power & Light announced a plan to invest $200 million in 2012 on projects the utility company said are "designed to improve service reliability and help meet the increasing demand for electricity in northern and central New Jersey."
Donald Lynch, president of JCP&L, said Tuesday morning the investment includes a $2 million investment to upgrade more than 40 distribution circuits within JCP&L's New Jersey service area, which includes .
Public Service Electric & Gas provides power to most of Wayne, but JCP&L serves a portion of the municipality on Black Oak Ridge Road and in the Pines Lake section of town. Several underground transformers were damanged by excessive groundwater after Hurricane Irene. They were removed and placed above ground on utility poles. Irene knocked out power to some part of Wayne for days.
"The substantial investments we plan to make this year and in the future are part of JCP&L’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of service we provide our customers,” Lynch said. “We have targeted projects such as replacing wires and poles, installing new fuses, adding new equipment and trimming trees, all to improve service to our customers."
Lynch said since 2001, the utility company has invested more than $1.6 billion in capital improvements to its distribution network. He noted in northern New Jersey alone, $165 million was spent rebuilding much of JCP&L's entire system, due to the damage caused both by Hurricane Irene and the freak October snowstorm.
Rob Morano, a spokesman for JCP&L, could not provide exactly how many Wayne customers the company services.
Lynch also spoke Tuesday of an "aggresive tree trimming program," which he said JCP&L intended to spend $20 million initiating.
"We have to cut back trees and branches that threaten our wires," Lynch said. "It's an outage waiting to happen."
Asked whether JCP&L would be more aggressive than usual following the damage caused in 2011 from natural disasters, Lynch said the utility would work with towns to make sure the proper amount of clearance–15 feet in any direction from the wires–is obtained. "If we don't have the rights, we have to obtain permission, we can't just go in and do that," he said. "A lot of the outages we saw were caused by trees outside our trimming corridor."
Overall, Lynch said he wanted customers to know JCP&L was working on continuing to improve its systems.
"We want to get out and show folks JCP&L continues to invest," he said.
The full press release is below.
Jersey Central Power & Light to Invest Nearly $200 Million in 2012 to Enhance Customers’ Service Reliability
Morristown, N.J. – Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) plans to invest nearly $200 million this year on projects designed to improve service reliability and help meet the increasing demand for electricity in northern and central New Jersey.
“The substantial investments we plan to make this year and in the future are part of JCP&L’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of service we provide our customers,” said Don Lynch, president of JCP&L.
“We have targeted projects such as replacing wires and poles, installing new fuses, adding new equipment, and trimming trees, all to improve service to our customers.”
The planned reliability projects include:
Investing more than $2 million to upgrade more than 40 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 nearly 90,000 customers in northern and central New Jersey.
Inspecting and proactively replacing distribution and sub-transmission utility poles that are reaching the end of their service life. 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.
Replacing older underground distribution cables. While underground facilities are generally protected from severe weather events, this equipment can take additional time to restore as compared to traditional overhead facilities.
Completing Lake Iliff substation in Andover Township, Sussex County, which will provide additional circuits designed to shorten the duration of outages. The project, which will cost more than $4 million, is slated for completion this summer.
Finishing construction of a new substation and distribution facilities to improve reliability and reduce the duration of potential outages by providing an additional source of electricity for customers in Tewksbury, Califon and surrounding towns. The new substation and distribution network, estimated to cost more than $4 million, will be energized this fall.
Installing distribution capacitors to help maintain proper voltage levels, which will benefit JCP&L’s industrial and large commercial customers that operate large motors, drives and machinery.
Constructing a new distribution circuit to serve Thor Labs in Newton, and a new transformer foundation at the Larabee substation in Howell.
Continuing to invest in vegetation management to trim trees, maintain proper clearances and mitigate potential damage to distribution facilities from falling tree limbs. JCP&L recently completed a system-wide program to repair or replace more than 10,000 streetlights.
Since 2001, JCP&L has invested more than $1.6 billion in capital improvements to its distribution network. In addition, in 2011 JCP&L invested $165 million to repair and replace equipment damaged by Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in 13 counties in New Jersey.