MORRISTOWN, N.J., Oct. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With Hurricane Sandy expected to slam New Jersey as early as Monday, Jersey Central Power & Light's (JCP&L) 400 linemen and 1,200 additional line personnel from as far away as Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio will help restore customers who could be without power from seven to 10 days as a result of anticipated damage from the storm. Restoration work will begin as soon as the storm passes and it is safe for utility workers.
The additional line personnel include crews from FirstEnergy Ohio utilities, outside contractors, and crews from other utilities. These resources are en route to New Jersey today. JCP&L also continues its efforts to secure even more line crews from other utilities through its membership in utility mutual assistance organizations.
The line crews will be joined by more than 1,200 forestry contractors who will be available Monday to assist with removing downed trees and limbs as part of the storm restoration process.
"Based on current forecasts and predictions, we are proactively deploying additional resources to assist our internal crews to help minimize the impact to our customers once Hurricane Sandy hits," said JCP&L President Donald Lynch. "We also are working with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and emergency management officials to ensure all available resources are being used to lessen the impact from this storm. We will conduct conference calls to update local officials on our storm preparation activities and we will continue to share information with them and with our customers throughout the service restoration process."
Other proactive steps being taken by JCP&L include establishing staging areas in Essex, Hunterdon, Sussex and Ocean counties for internal and outside crews. Once the storm has passed, JCP&L will have 10 helicopters available to assess damage from the air.
In addition to the high winds, the forecast also calls for heavy rains over several days that are expected to cause coastal, river and flash flooding. The high tides also have the potential to exacerbate the flooding. Contractors have inspected waterways near JCP&L substations and all debris has been removed. Crews also are placing sandbags around substations that could be threatened by flooding.
JCP&L's restoration process is designed to restore power safely and efficiently for affected customers. Crews initially are focused on responding to hazardous situations and high-priority damage locations, including the transmission and substation facilities that supply power for local distribution systems. Priority is also given to hospitals, critical care and life-support facilities, communications facilities, emergency response agencies and circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes.
Critical care and well water customers already have received calls from JCP&L to warn them to expect extended outages. Reminders will be provided 24 hours before the storm. Customers on life-support equipment who have registered with JCP&L are a priority during the restoration process.
FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com. Customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company or local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it's no longer carrying electricity.
Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified, licensed electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers and the public. In addition, generators should only be used outdoors and only in well-ventilated areas
For updated information on the company's storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages. Or follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL for the latest information.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
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 Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.