MORRISTOWN, NJ - Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has filed a four-year infrastructure plan with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) aimed at "enhancing the reliability and resiliency of its distribution system against severe weather and reducing the frequency and duration of power outages."

The plan -- 'JCP&L Reliability Plus' -- includes about $400 million in targeted investments above and beyond its regular annual investments to enhance JCP&L’s service reliability and resiliency, and features 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 plan 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.

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

'Reliability Plus' was created following a detailed analysis of JCP&L’s distribution system, as well as lessons learned from the restoration efforts following recent severe weather events.  

JCP&L expects the plan’s economic benefit to customers and businesses from enhanced reliability and resiliency will be $1.9 billion over the estimated life of the equipment installed through the program. JCP&L estimates the initial increase on the monthly bill for an average residential customer would be about 25 cents. 

Per JCP&L, key' Reliability Plus' plan components include:

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. This work will make JCP&L’s electric distribution system less susceptible to storm damage and enhance resiliency by addressing the primary cause of outages during storm events – tree damage.  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. These projects will increase the distribution system’s resiliency, operational flexibility, safety and security.  

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, a FirstEnergy Corporation subsidiary, serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Union, Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren.