JCP&L Pushes Ahead With System Upgrades Designed to Boost Reliability

State’s second-largest utility approaching halfway mark with total of 90 circuit enhancements planned

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Jersey Central Power & Light yesterday said it has completed upgrades to its system that will enhance reliability for 41,000 customers in eight counties in its core territory.

The projects are part of the utility’s previously announced plans to spend $267 million in 2015 to build more resiliency into its electric distribution system and to meet future load growth.

The state’s second-largest utility, more than 1 million customers, has been under scrutiny from regulators, local officials, and consumer advocates in the past, largely because of widespread outages during big storms and its slow response in restoring service.

The latest upgrades involve the company’s efforts to use advanced technology to enhance the system, including circuits employed to deliver power to residents and businesses. The upgrades could speed the restoration process if an outage occurs.

[related]Year-to-date, JCP&L has completed more than 40 of 90 planned circuit upgrades across its service area. They are budgeted at a total cost of about $6 million, according to the utility.

“With the summer season upon us and the possibility of storms and increased customer electrical outages, these circuit enhancements are expected to make our distribution system more robust,’’ said Tony Hurley, vice president of operations for JCP&L. “The work will provide reliability benefits to our customers now and in the future by helping to limit the frequency and duration of potential service disruptions.’’

All of the state’s gas and electric utilities are investing more in their systems to make them more resilient in the case of extreme storms — a strategy aggressively pushed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.