HOLMDEL ­– Starting off fresh,  residents will have a new, positive opportunity to meet with JCP&L on Tuesday, Sept. 11. This time in a much better light.

According to a news release, representatives from Jersey Central Power and Lighting (JCP&L) will appear at the Holmdel Township Senior/Community Center for a 7:30 p.m. presentation about a four-year infrastructure plan aimed to enhance the reliability and resiliency of its services during severe weather events.

The plan – JCP&L Reliability Plus – was proposed July 13 to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), where it is pending approval.

Sign Up for E-News

JCP&L Reliability Plus features approximately $400 million in targeted investments ­– beyond the organization’s regular annual investments – to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

“Much of our town’s power outage concerns stem from the collapse of trees and falling limbs during severe storms,” Mayor Critelli said. “This is due much in part to a lack of trimming and removal of privately owned trees and other vegetation that is outside of JCP&L’s right of way. We’re really looking forward to working with them.”

JCP&L President Jim Fakult said the plan’s focus is to limit damage during severe storms, and cited the nearly 4,000 enhancements it includes, all intended to create more dependable overhead and underground distribution lines.

Fakult also referenced the implementation of new equipment, which should reduce the frequency of outages and time spent without power.

Additionally, the plan outlines vegetation management operations that will reduce the potential for damage to power lines by collapsing trees, which is of particular interest to the municipality due to the decimation of its ash tree population by the emerald ash borer.

Noted for its torpedo-shape, the green-colored beetle is known to burrow into ash trees virtually undetected, before its larvae hollows out the trunk, leaving the shells susceptible to toppling over onto power lines during stormy weather.

JCP&L will go into further detail about the plan and how it relates to Holmdel Township at the Sept. 11 meeting.

After the recent actions with BPU on the controversial high tension power line project, this meeting speaks to a more positive interaction between the utility and its customers and the future of energy reliability.