JCP&L Completes Inspections and Maintenance
Prior to Winter Weather
Preparing Equipment for Colder Weather Helps Enhance System Reliability
Morristown, N.J. – In preparation for winter, Jersey Central Power & Light
(JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is completing inspections and
conducting equipment maintenance on weather-sensitive equipment across its service
Winter’s cold temperatures can produce increased demand for electricity, and
heavy snow and wind have the potential to cause damage to poles, wires and substations,
requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions. Completing inspections and
equipment maintenance now can help to enhance system resiliency when the snow begins
“Conducting winter maintenance procedures for our infrastructure, combined with
fleet maintenance designed to prepare our vehicles for winter weather, make a difference
when the weather turns cold,” said Mark Jones, vice president of Operations, JCP&L.
“Preparing now for potential severe weather conditions helps enhance the service we
provide to our customers.”
The work includes inspecting heating equipment for substation components, such
as capacitor banks, transformers, oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers. Some substations
also include buildings that house remote-controlled relay equipment. These structures
will be winterized and have the heating systems checked.
Substation electricians also inspect batteries used to power relays that sense faults
on the network and motors that automatically operate switches to isolate those problems,
helping to prevent service interruptions or limit their size and scope. Crews use special
thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots invisible to the naked eye on equipment
prone to overheating and malfunctioning as customers crank up their heaters to combat
Company bucket trucks and other vehicles also are being inspected to help ensure
safe operation during the winter season. Special emphasis is placed on the condition of
tires and any air braking systems, which can freeze up if moisture is present. In addition,
snow removal equipment is being checked. The plows are used to help crews gain access
to substations, and to clear the work areas and sidewalks at company service garages and
Helicopter patrols also are completing inspections of transmission lines located in
the JCP&L area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross
arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any
potential reliability issues identified during the inspection may then be addressed.
In addition, tree trimming throughout the year helps meet the rigors of winter
operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to
protect against tree-related outages. JCP&L tree contractors expect to complete tree
trimming along more than 3,600 circuit miles of electric lines in 2017.
Employee safety also is a priority during the winter. JCP&L’s cold-weather
operational procedures are reviewed with linemen, substation electricians, and meter
readers in advance of any frigid conditions. JCP&L personnel often take extra measures
to stay warm when working in extreme cold to restore power after an outage. Crews also
could be delayed by treacherous driving conditions.
FirstEnergy’s utilities also have made it easier for customers to check the progress
of service restoration efforts if they experience a power outage during severe winter
weather. The company’s 24/7 Power Center outage maps now display the status of crews
restoring service after a power outage. With this enhancement, FirstEnergy utility
customers can see when crews have been dispatched, when they are working on a repair,
and when additional crews or equipment are needed to complete restoration work. This
information also is provided through the companies’ web-based outage information, and text messaging and alert services.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington,
Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset,
Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10
electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric
systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland
and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles
of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow
FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Editor’s Note: Photos of FirstEnergy’s utilities’ winter inspection and
maintenance program are available for download on Flickr.