MONTVILLE, NJ – At the Township Committee meeting on Sept. 23, JCP&L representatives Jim Arnett, Reliability Engineer and Adelaida Colon, Northern New Jersey Area Manager were on the agenda to present information about “reliability improvements to the Pine Brook area.”

Arnett led the presentation explaining the tools used by JCP&L to track outages in the Montville area and displaying an ‘Individual Customer Service Interruption Frequency Plot’ map depicting the areas with the greatest interruption in service. Specifically, the plot map honed-in on the area of Pine Brook Road between Peace Valley Road and Jarombek Drive, which all receive their main power supply from the Changebridge substation #37793.

This specific area in Montville Township was the focus of Arnett’s presentation, which he indicated has been impacted by a high number of outages over the course of the past twelve months. Arnett pointed out that the cause related to all of the outages on the list were considered “non-preventable” in nature and included vehicle accidents and downed trees.

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Based on their analysis of circuit outage history and circuit characteristics in Montville Township, Arnett commented that JCP&L has focused on the following items:

  • Vegetation management on a four year schedule (Changebridge #37793 circuit last maintained in Jan. 2013).
  • Thermovision inspection / infra-red on a four year schedule.
  • Overhead visual inspection on a five year schedule.
  • Wood pole inspection on a ten year schedule.

At this point in the presentation, Deputy Mayor Scott Gallopo asked, “What is being done to improve the reliability of the circuit above and beyond the maintenance programs mentioned?”

Arnett commented that the Changebridge #37793 circuit has not been changed since Superstorm Sandy and that there is currently no redundancy with that circuit.

Gallopo’s question to the JCP&L representatives sparked a flurry of questions and comments from the Township Committee.

Committeewoman Deb Nielson commented, “After [Superstorm] Sandy, we have held discussions with JCP&L at length on these specific questions and we were given assurances your company would make changes to increase reliability and now it’s almost two years later.”

Committeeman Jim Sandham said, “Thank you for being here tonight, however, it is disingenuous on the part of JCP&L to put a representative in front of this group who doesn’t know Montville, Towaco and Pine Brook. As far as I’m concerned, none of our questions are being answered.” Sandham also asked, “Why doesn’t this section of town have redundancy like we have in other sections of town? There were 1,364 customers effected in Sandy. What improvements with over 50 customers impacted have been done?”

Gallopo later stated, “We have 200-400 [residences] that lose power with a high degree of frequency. Is there a new plan? If so, what is it? How do we get that circuit so there is redundancy included?”

JCP&L representative Colon generally responded to the Township Committee comments stating, “Our goal is to continue to progress to provide reliable service. We heard complaints on Pine Brook and we are addressing that tonight.”

Specifically, Colon listed various items such as replacing a conductor and grid rod, cutting certain branches and inspecting specific utility poles that have been done since Superstorm Sandy relating to the Changebridge #37793 circuit.

“These examples sound like preventative maintenance versus new upgrades,” Sandham commented.

TAP reached out to JCP&L to obtain any further comments relating to this discussion and received the following response from JCP&L Media Relations representative Ron Morano, “JCP&L representatives agreed to attend the Montville Committee meeting to address reliability of service concerns in one area of Montville. Based on the feedback from the mayor and committee it is apparent that a more comprehensive review covering the municipality is desired. The information that was presented at the meeting was intended only to address outage history, duration and causes in the Pine Brook area. The company regrets if there was a misunderstanding about its intent. JCP&L remains committed to delivering Montville residents the quality electric service they expect and deserve.”

After JCP&L’s presentation at the meeting, Mayor Don Kostka provided residents with an update as to the Township Committee’s next steps relating to JCP&L and the proposed Montville-Whippany Reinforcement Project (“Project”):

  • There is currently no date provided by JCP&L for the town’s public meeting to discuss the Project.
  • The Township Committee has hired Maser Consulting from Albany, NY as an expert to oppose the Project.
  • Within the next 20 days, teams comprised of representatives from Maser Consulting, Township Administration, and Township Committee members will be meeting with residents from The Meadows and Montville Chase, Montville Township Board of Education, and individual property owners to document concerns relating to the Project.

“You can see our frustration and we understand your frustration,” Mayor Kostka said. “We are all in this together and your Township Committee has your back.”

During the public portion of the meeting, Daniel Mauriello of Jefferson Court in The Meadows thanked the Township Committee “for keeping us informed along the way.” Mauriello continued by stating, “Let’s make some noise. This is our town and our children grow up here.”