WARREN, NJ – Jersey Central Power & Light has filed a four-year infrastructure plan with the state Board of Public Utilities aimed at enhancing the reliability and resiliency of its distribution system against severe weather and reducing the frequency and duration of power outages.

The company announced the plan in a press release.

JCP&L calls the $400 million plan “Reliability Plus.” It includes improvements “above and beyond” the company’s  regular annual investments.

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Back-to-back power outages in March triggered sharp criticism toward JCP&L from some officials. They prompted the BPU to hold a hearing about JCP&L’s performance here in May, where BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said, “We must do whatever we can do to significantly reduce the chance of this happening in the future."

Coincidentally, JCP&L had begun working on the “Reliability Plus” plan before the winter storms, JCP&L Spokesperson Ron Morano said today. But the company also took input from the BPU hearings to help shape the plan, particularly regarding enhanced tree trimming and overhead reliability, he said.

“The plan includes nearly 4,000 enhancements that will help the reliability and resiliency of overhead and underground distribution lines, as well as new equipment to reduce the frequency and duration of outages,” the company announced. “It also outlines additional vegetation management to reduce the potential for tree damage, which is the primary cause of outages during severe storms in JCP&L’s service area.”

“The special focus of this program is to limit damage during severe weather events,” JCP&L President Jim Fakult said in the release. “The new equipment, along with enhanced vegetation management, builds on our ongoing efforts to ensure customer service reliability.”

The company said the initial increase on the monthly bill for an average residential customer would be about 25 cents.

The company said key JCP&L “Reliability Plus” projects include, subject to approval by the BPU:

• Overhead circuit reliability and resiliency – Conducting enhanced vegetation management to remove trees and limbs overhanging the distribution system in certain areas, as well as trees affected by the emerald ash borer near JCP&L power lines and equipment. JCP&L will also be installing new TripSaver II devices to reduce the number of momentary outages that become longer-duration outages.

• Substation reliability enhancement – Protecting JCP&L substations from storm damage by implementing flood mitigation measures, upgrading distribution substation equipment, enhancing substation fencing and acquiring four mobile substations.

• Distribution automation – Installing new technology that can pinpoint and isolate damage on the system, which quickly decreases the number of customers affected by an outage.

• Underground system improvements – Accelerating replacement of underground cable and submersible transformers with new equipment. These projects will increase customer service reliability and resiliency by reducing the frequency and duration of outages and enhancing current operations.

JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers.

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