MORRISTOWN, N.J., May 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is ready to respond to power outages caused during the hurricane season, which runs June 1, 2013, through November 30, 2013.
As one of 10 FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utilities, JCP&L is able to utilize FirstEnergy's certified meteorologists' access to National Hurricane Center data to help predict any hurricane or tropical storm's impact on JCP&L's central and northern New Jersey service areas. This information is used to help pre-position outside personnel and resources in New Jersey prior to the weather event occurring.
If major storms strike, JCP&L can call on thousands of line workers, hazard responders, forestry workers and support personnel from FirstEnergy's other utilities that can be deployed to New Jersey to help restore service to customers as quickly as possible. In addition, JCP&L has access to several utility industry mutual assistance organizations that could provide additional resources to help restore service to customers, if necessary.
"One of the key benefits of being part of a big company like FirstEnergy is that we have large-scale resources that can be deployed to areas with the most severe damage," said Anthony Hurley, vice president Operations, JCP&L. "In addition, our storm process is the same for all of our utilities, which means when crews from Ohio or West Virginia arrive in New Jersey, they can begin work immediately on behalf of our customers."
When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey last year, JCP&L responded with the largest mobilization of crews, equipment, material and support in the company's history. Ultimately, more than 13,000 linemen and forestry workers, as well as thousands of support staff, joined the massive restoration effort.
As part of its hurricane preparation efforts, JCP&L will be conducting a storm drill on June 20, 2013, at its Morristown, N. J., headquarters that will involve company operations and support personnel, representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, and staff from the New Jersey Bureau of Public Utilities. The drill is designed to enhance and refine the communication process between the company and governmental agencies when a major weather event impacts the region.
As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance system reliability, in 2013 JCP&L and its vegetation management contractors have trimmed more than 1,900 circuit miles of electric lines, with an additional 1,600 circuit miles expected to be completed by year end.
The tree trimming and vegetation management work is done on a four-year cycle to ensure proper clearances around electric circuits and equipment and is designed to help reduce tree-related outages, particularly during severe weather. Vegetation is inspected and trees are pruned in a manner that preserves the health of the tree and observes legal requirements, while also maintaining safe and reliable electric service for customers. In some cases, trees that present a danger or are diseased may also be removed.
System Reliability Projects
JCP&L has completed multiple projects throughout its northern and central New Jersey service areas that are expected to enhance customer service reliability. The work included rebuilding transmission lines, upgrading substation equipment, and rebuilding infrastructure and reconnecting service to homes on the barrier islands that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. With customers expected to use more electricity during the summer months, the company focused on completing major repairs and conducting ongoing maintenance prior to June 1, 2013.
The largest project was energizing the rebuilt Whippany-Roseland 230 kilovolt transmission line. This $12-million project included replacing 19 older style towers with new steel monopoles.
JCP&L also is continuing work on its Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement (LITE) Program, a $200 million, multiyear plan that ultimately will encompass up to 50 transmission and sub-transmission projects designed to enhance system reliability.
Customer Communications Options
JCP&L's new texting and alert services and continued enhancements to its website and outage maps have made it easier for customers to report outages and obtain restoration information.
Customers can subscribe to receive alert notifications via email or text message that contain information about bills, weather conditions that may impact electrical service, or updates on reported outages. Customers also can use text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.
Customers can sign up for text messaging by texting REG to 544487 (LIGHTS). Additional sign-up instructions, a guide to texting codes and terms and conditions, can be found online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
The alert and text message services are provided free of charge to JCP&L customers; however, mobile carriers may charge customers to send and receive text messages or utilize data services. Customers should contact their carrier for more details about message and data rates.
The alert and text messaging services are the latest additions to the suite of mobile technology recently introduced for customers. Earlier this year, the company launched smartphone apps for Apple® iPhone® and Android™ devices, and a mobile website that is accessible by using a smartphone to visit www.firstenergycorp.com. Customers can also view power outages on FirstEnergy's mobile-accessible 24/7 Power Center outage maps or receive information, view photos and watch video on the company's social media accounts.
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, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL, or online at www.jcp-l.com.
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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, in general, and the retail sales market in particular, 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 and pending rate cases, 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, regulatory outcomes associated with Hurricane Sandy, changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and availability and their impact on retail margins, the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs, operation and maintenance costs being higher than anticipated, other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including possible GHG emission, water discharge, water intake and coal combustion residual regulations, the potential impacts of CAIR, and any laws, rules or regulations that ultimately replace CAIR, and the effects of the EPA's MATS 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 NSR 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 unscrubbed regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to, among other things, the RMR 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 or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant), adverse legal decisions and outcomes related to ME's and PN's ability to recover certain transmission costs through their TSC riders, the impact of future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units, 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 inadequately 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 reduce costs and to successfully complete our announced financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet, including but not limited to, proposed capital raising and debt reduction initiatives, the proposed West Virginia asset transfer and potential sale of non-core hydro assets, 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, the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution segment and to continue to successfully implement our direct retail sales strategy in the Competitive Energy Services segment, changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of liabilities and the value of assets held in our NDTs, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and our 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 our announced financial plan, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries, actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, LOCs and other financial guarantees, changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties including fuel suppliers, with which we do business, issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business, and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings, and other similar factors. Dividends declared from time to time on FE's common stock during any annual period may in the aggregate vary from the indicated amount due to circumstances considered by FE's Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. 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. 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SOURCE Jersey Central Power & Light