MORRISTOWN, N.J., Jan. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) completed more than 160 infrastructure projects and other work in 2014 to help enhance service reliability to its 1.1 million customers in northern and central New Jersey.
"About $250 million was budgeted in 2014 for these projects that help enhance day-to-day service reliability for our customers along with maintaining our system's capability to handle future load growth," said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. "When measuring the average outage duration for customers for 2014, our results show a 17 percent improvement compared to 2013 results, which we can largely attribute to the infrastructure work that has been done this year, and in previous years, to make our system more robust."
Some of the key JCP&L projects in 2014 included:
- Completing a $15 million expansion of a substation in Monmouth County, which included adding a new transformer, circuit breaker and control building. The project also provides greater redundancy to benefit 170,000 customers in the county by connecting with existing substations in Red Bank and Tinton Falls.
- Completing the installation of a new circuit breaker and transformer at a substation in Manalapan in Monmouth County at a cost of $1.2 million. The project also included adding two new distribution circuits.
- Completing a $2 million installation of circuit breakers at a substation in Burlington County to provide greater operational flexibility and resiliency for the local and regional transmission network.
- Completing more than $2 million of upgrades, including adding new circuit breakers, at a substation in Raritan River in Middlesex County.
- Starting construction of a $10 million expansion of a substation in West Amwell in Hunterdon County. The project will include a new half-mile transmission line loop to connect the expanded substation with a nearby 230-kilovolt transmission line.
- Completing nearly $6 million of upgrades on 118 distribution circuits across the JCP&L service area. The work included installing more resilient fuses, adding larger cross-arms to increase wire clearance and installing fault indicators to help identify problem areas on a circuit to help expedite the restoration process if an outage occurs.
- Completing upgrades totaling $2.75 million at a substation in Hightstown in Mercer County. The project included installing a new 115 kilovolt circuit breaker for a transmission line that will run from Englishtown to Wyckoff.
- Completing installation of equipment in Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris and Sussex counties that automatically transfers customers to adjacent circuits in the event of an outage.
- Trimming trees to maintain proper clearances along nearly 3,400 miles of power lines at a cost of approximately $24 million.
Service reliability projects planned for in 2015 include new substations, transmission lines and circuit upgrades.
In 2014, JCP&L made it easier for customers to check the progress of service restoration efforts when they experience a power outage. The company's 24/7 Power Center outage maps now display the status of crews restoring service after a power outage. With this enhancement, JCP&L customers can see when crews have been dispatched, when they are working on a repair, and when additional crews or equipment are needed to complete restoration work.
JCP&L customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive billing reminders, weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.
As part of its storm restoration process, in 2014 JCP&L rolled out two new apps that employees can use on mobile devices to automatically enter damage information into the company's outage management system. The new hazard app on company smart phones allows responders in the field to electronically document hazardous situations. Once the hazard assessment is complete, repair crews can use the new damage assessment app on company mobile computers to develop an itemized list of materials and equipment that will be needed to make repairs at damage locations. The app uses a highly detailed map showing JCP&L's circuits.
JCP&L, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, 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, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of several of the JCP&L infrastructure projects that were completed in 2014 are available for download on Flickr.
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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, which may include the following: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular; the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments and to successfully implement our revised sales strategy in the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission plan and pending distribution rate cases and the effectiveness of our repositioning strategy; the impact of the regulatory process on pending matters in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and pending rate cases, and the Electric Security Plan IV in Ohio; the impact of the federal regulatory process on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulated entities and transactions, in particular FERC regulation of wholesale energy and capacity markets, including the PJM markets and also FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions, FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates, including FERC Opinion No. 531's revised Return on Equity methodology for FERC-jurisdictional wholesale generation and transmission utility service and FERC's compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to NERC's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins such as a polar vortex or other significant weather events, and all associated regulatory events or actions; regulatory outcomes associated with storm restoration costs, including but not limited to, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm of 2011; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and their availability and impact on margins; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, possible greenhouse gases emission, water discharge, and coal combustion residuals regulations, the potential impacts of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rules including our estimated costs of compliance; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such expenditures could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to, among other things, Reliability Must Run arrangements and the reliability of the transmission grid; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units; 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 Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and successfully execute our announced financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our previously-implemented dividend reduction and our other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; 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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.