Service has been restored to more than 131,000 Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) customers who lost power following the massive winter storm that pounded the entire Mid-Atlantic and New England region this weekend.
One of the hardest hit areas was JCP&L’s northern New Jersey service area that experienced 60 mph wind gusts and more than a foot of heavy, wet snow. Currently, approximately 90,000 customers remain out of service in Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.
More than 1,600 JCP&L linemen, damage assessors, hazard responders, forestry personnel, dispatchers and contractors are working to restore customer outages. In addition, more than 430 line workers from other FirstEnergy utilities and contractors are on-site or in transit to assist with restoration efforts in northern New Jersey. These crews recently completed work restoring customers in Ohio and West Virginia who lost power because of the winter storm.
“Large parts of the eastern seaboard were slammed by this winter storm and unfortunately our northern New Jersey area got hit extremely hard,” said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. “The high winds were a big challenge to our initial restoration efforts since it was unsafe for our crews to go up in buckets and make repairs. Plus, the wet, heavy snow and hundreds of road closures made it almost impossible to travel to some damage locations. JCP&L crews and other personnel will continue to work round-the-clock to make repairs and deploy resources as needed until all customers are restored.”
An additional 200 hazard responders also are in transit to New Jersey to assist with restoration efforts. Hazard responders investigate downed wires and inspect damage locations to determine what equipment might be needed to make repairs. Helicopters and aerial drones also are being used to inspect damaged power lines, especially in more remote areas.
JCP&L expects the majority of customers to be restored to service by late Tuesday. However, some customers in the hardest hit areas of northern Morris County and Sussex County will be restored by late Wednesday night.
To handle the influx of outside workers, JCP&L has set up a staging site at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, N.J. A JCP&L mobile command center also has been set up at the fairgrounds to direct the outside workers to where they are most needed.
As part of its storm restoration process, JPC&L has taken the following steps:
- Ramped up storm updates on social media and on the company website. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com
- Aired radio ads telling customers how to prepare for storms
- Initiated update calls with officials
- Activated its Emergency Command Center
- Activated its Incident Command System
- Communicated with emergency management, officials, state officials, regulators, and local officials about storm restoration efforts
- Staffed additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices
JCP&L reminds customers to immediately report downed wires to their utility at 888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877), or to their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed wire even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris.
FirstEnergy 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.
More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
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, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.