MORRISTOWN, NJ - Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) completed a successful emergency readiness exercise on May 15 at its Holmdel office focused on testing the company's restoration process in the event severe weather causes widespread power outages in the area.
The exercise, designed to simulate real-time events, prepares employees assigned to storm restoration and introduces process enhancements. More than 75 JCP&L employees from the Operations, Engineering, Safety, Logistics, Communications, External Affairs, Customer Support, Facilities, Corporate Support and Planning and Analysis groups participated in the drill, which was observed by representatives from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
"This training exercise helps to further sharpen our skills and gives us an opportunity to test the new tools we have added to enhance our restoration efforts during actual events," said Alex Patton, JCP&L vice president of Operations. "Along with our ongoing infrastructure enhancements, these exercises are another way we invest in reliability for our customers."
Among the items exercised were new actions incorporated following the March 2018 storms that will help enhance service for JCP&L customers, including:
- Improvements to the process for obtaining in-state mutual assistance;
- A joint-use storm plan focused on collaborating with telecommunications partners to support communications and replacement of jointly-owned poles;
- Providing estimated time of restoration (ETR) communications by region;
- Programs to provide training to new damage assessment employees and expand access to third party contractors;
- Effective management of the additional workforce that is deployed to assist with storm restoration.
As part of the training, JCP&L used its Incident Command System (ICS), a nationally-recognized and accepted emergency management process used by all levels of government – federal, state, tribal and local – as well as by many non-governmental organizations and the private sector to coordinate the response to major storms or other natural disasters. JCP&L implemented ICS in 2013.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. and serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Union, Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren.