JCP&L Service Reliability Improvements Working
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — During the year following Hurricane Irene, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has re-focused its approach to major storms to meet customer and community expectations, while continuing to upgrade and maintain the company’s electric system to improve reliability and meet the growing demand for electricity.
“Our customers have expectations for their service and to meet them we must continuously improve,” said Holly C. Kauffman, vice president of Operations at JCP&L. “After the hurricane, we listened to our customers and launched several initiatives to provide better information during emergencies. The process is working well.”
In the week leading up to the August 28, 2011 storm, JCP&L stationed crews in strategic locations for emergency response and launched its storm plans to coordinate with emergency management offices. The storm, with extensive flooding and wind damage, knocked out power to 750,000 of JCP&L’s 1.1 million customers.
During the restoration effort, more than 1,300 JCP&L employees joined by an equal number of FirstEnergy staff and line crews worked in 16-hour shifts, day and night, for eight days until all service was restored. They were supplemented by 2,100 workers from other utility companies. Line repair crews and tree removal crews came from Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
As a result of the hurricane, seven JCP&L substations were under water, 21,000 wires were down, and 47 miles of wire and 360 poles needed replacement. At the time, it was the most damaging storm in the company’s history, and JCP&L responded with an unprecedented mobilization of workers and materials. But five weeks later, the October 2011 snowstorm produced even more damage.
“Hurricane Irene tested our customers and our communities and all the employees of JCP&L,” Kauffman continued. “Our employees are truly committed to our customers. Many left their own damaged homes and communities to respond and restore power to our customers. Massive flooding, blocked roads, uprooted multi-story trees and thousands of downed wires required extraordinary actions and ingenuity. It was a massive effort and our people found efficient solutions to restore power as quickly as possible.”
Starting with the October snowstorm, JCP&L began holding daily conference calls with mayors during long-term restoration efforts to inform local officials about restoration progress and receive feedback about local priorities. Now, local governmental affairs representatives are brought in from other FirstEnergy utilities to assist in the day-to-day contacts with mayors and other local officials before a major storm.
For customers, JCP&L has started using Twitter and Facebook, which will help distribute restoration information during a major storm. The smartphone-compatible 24/7 Power Center, which launched this spring, shows outages by municipal border and provides information on where to find free ice and water during major storms. JCP&L will soon offer restoration updates through instant messaging and email.
JCP&L this year announced programs to upgrade the reliability of the electric system while expanding for the future, including:
- $200 million in reliability project upgrades, including new substations, circuit upgrades and maintenance.
- Hiring 36 new linemen.
- Aggressive tree trimming to remove potential threats to reliability.
- New laptops in fleet trucks to improve speed and coordination of emergency repairs and maintenance.
- Continuation of the five-year program to expand JCP&L’s transmission network, to add redundancy and increase the capacity of the system.
So far, JCP&L has completed more than half of the 40 circuit upgrades scheduled for this year. These projects help to improve reliability through all 236 municipalities across the JCP&L system.
“Every emergency is different. But we have upgraded our system to reduce the likelihood and duration of outages to meet the expectations of our customers,” Kauffman concluded.
A photo gallery of images from Hurricane Irene and JCP&L’s activities from the past year is available on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JCPandL.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements include declarations regarding management’s intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms “anticipate,” “potential,” “expect,” “believe,” “estimate” and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially due to: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters before FERC and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, the status of the PATH project in light of the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., (PJM) direction to suspend work on the project pending review of its planning process, its re-evaluation of the need for the project and the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of any related capital expenditures, the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from ATSI’s realignment into PJM, economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins, changes in markets for energy services, changing energy and commodity market prices and availability, financial derivative reforms that could increase our liquidity needs and collateral costs, the continued ability of FirstEnergy’s regulated utilities to collect transition and other costs, operation and maintenance costs being higher than anticipated, other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including possible GHG emission, water intake and coal combustion residual regulations, the potential impacts of any laws, rules or regulations that ultimately replace CAIR, including CSAPR which was stayed by the courts on December 30, 2011, and the effects of the EPA’s MATS rules, the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation including NSR litigation or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such expenditures could result in our decision to shut down or idle certain generating units), the uncertainties associated with the company’s plan to retire its older unscrubbed regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments the timing of, those deactivations as they relate to, among other things, the Reliability Must Run arrangements and the reliability of the transmission grid, adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the NRC including as a result of the incident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant), issues that could result from the NRC’s review of the indications of cracking in the Davis-Besse plant shield building, adverse legal decisions and outcomes related to Met-Ed’s and Penelec’s ability to recover certain transmission costs through their transmission service charge riders, the continuing availability of generating units, changes in their operational status and any related impacts on vendor commitments, replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or inadequately hedged, the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency mandates, changes in customers’ demand for power, including but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency mandates, the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic goals, FirstEnergy’s ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins, the ability to experience growth in the distribution business, the changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of liabilities and the value of assets held in FirstEnergy’s NDTs, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated, the impact of changes to material accounting policies, the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with FirstEnergy’s financing plan, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries, changes in general economic conditions affecting FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries, interest rates and any actions taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect FirstEnergy’s and its subsidiaries’ access to financing or their costs and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, LOCs and other financial guarantees, the state of the national and regional economy and its impact on major industrial and commercial customers of FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries, issues concerning the soundness of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries do business, the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in FirstEnergy’s and its applicable subsidiaries’ SEC filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.