Projects Designed to Help Enhance Service Reliability and Meet Increased Demand for Electricity
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Feb. 23, 2015 -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) plans to spend about $267 million in 2015 on projects and other work to enhance and maintain a strong electrical system and help meet future load growth in its 13-county New Jersey service area.
Major projects scheduled for this year include the completion of a new transmission line in Middlesex County, the expansion of a substation in Hunterdon County, and upgrades to a substation in Morris County. In addition, JCP&L has scheduled enhancements for 94 circuits, including the installation of remote-controlled equipment to reduce the duration of outages. Utility poles also will be inspected and replaced, as needed, and tree trimming will be completed on more than 3,300 miles of distribution and transmission lines.
"Each year we carefully review and rigorously plan transmission and distribution projects that will enhance service to our customers," said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. "Our work is making a difference. In 2014 we had 17 percent fewer outages than the previous year, which we can largely attribute to the infrastructure work that has been done to help maintain the strength of our system."
JCP&L's 2015 planned system expenditures include:
- Upgrading more than 90 distribution circuits at a cost of nearly $6 million in a number of communities to enhance service reliability. The improvements – adding animal guards, spacer cable, fuses and new wire – are expected to reduce outages on distribution circuits that serve 180,000 customers in northern and central New Jersey.
- Performing tree trimming work on more than 3,300 miles of power lines at a cost of approximately $24 million.
- Redesigning circuits so the load they carry can be transferred to an adjacent circuit to help restore customers sooner if an outage occurs.
- Adding remote-controlled equipment so circuits can be automatically reset during power outages.
- Performing infrared scans on more than 280 circuits to determine condition of equipment and proactively making repairs, as needed.
- Inspecting 283 circuits from substation to substation to proactively identify potential service issues and replace equipment, as needed.
- Replacing more than 100,000 feet of underground distribution cables.
- Inspecting and proactively replacing, if needed, more than 28,000 utility poles.
JCP&L also will continue implementing its Energizing the Future transmission system enhancement program to help meet future load growth in the region. Transmission projects for 2015 include:
- Continuing the planning and design of a new 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Monmouth County between substations in Neptune and Howell. The project is expected to cost nearly $82 million and includes adding four new circuit breakers at the substation in Howell.
- Continuing a $10 million expansion of a substation in West Amwell, Hunterdon County, which includes the installation of a massive new 230 kV transformer.
- Beginning a $36 million project to install voltage regulating equipment at a substation in Morris County to enhance power quality.
- Completing construction of a new $7 million, 115 kV power line at a substation in Old Bridge in Middlesex County.
- Constructing a new $1.8 million, 34.5 kV power line connecting substations in Hunterdon County.
- Upgrading a 34.5 kV line that runs from a substation in Bernards Township, Somerset County, to a substation in Long Hill Township, Morris County.
- Completing engineering and design work for a $3 million upgrade at a substation in Morris County that will include a new 230 kV transformer.
If an outage does occur, JCP&L customers can easily check the progress of service restoration efforts using the company's 24/7 Power Center outage maps on the FirstEnergy website at www.firstenergycorp.com. 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 also can use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. To sign up, JCP&L customers can text REG to 544487 or visithttps://www.firstenergycorp.com/help/communication_tools.html for more information about the company's communications tools.
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.
Editor's Note: Photos of service reliability work being done at a JCP&L substation in Hunterdon County 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 for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, pending transmission and distribution rate cases and the effectiveness of our repositioning strategy to reflect a more regulated business profile; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, assessment of the reliability of our transmission system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission investment opportunities; the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters at the federal level and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and pending rate cases, including 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 PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) markets and 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 North American Electric Reliability Corporation's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM; 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 retail 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, proposed greenhouse gases emission and water discharge regulations and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, including our estimated costs of compliance, and Clean Water Act 316(b) water intake regulation; 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 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; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; 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 to successfully execute our 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; 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 plans, 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/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks on our electronic data centers that could compromise the information stored on our networks, including proprietary information and customer data; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. 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