MORRISTOWN, N.J., Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is assessing the extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy, with more than 1,600 linemen, 1,200 forestry workers and other personnel available to help restore power to customers. This is the worst storm damage in JCP&L history, far worse than experienced during Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm. As a result, restoration times will likely be longer.
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Damage assessment began this morning with crews on the ground. Today, after winds subside, helicopter crews will inspect 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines that are damaged. Early assessments indicate parts of the transmission system may need to be rebuilt. Helicopters also will assess the extensive damage throughout the system. JCP&L has 10 helicopters available and is working to secure more.
As of this morning, more than 930,000 JCP&L customers are without power and that number will probably increase as assessment continues. Limited restoration of power is expected to take place today while crews assess damage. JCP&L urges customers to make preparations given the expected lengthy outages.
Downed trees and branches have made many roads impassable, and these closures could delay this process. Forestry crews are working to remove downed trees and branches. Once winds die down and bucket trucks can be operated safely, those crews will be dispatched to handle repairs.
JCP&L's emergency operations center is already in full operation. Mobile command centers also are placed strategically around the state. Many of JCP&L's substations near the shore were sandbagged to help prevent water damage and are now being assessed. At least a few substations experienced flooding due to storm surge. The early priority will be rebuilding transmission damage and repairing flooded substations. Emergency services, including hospitals, police, fire and first aid will be given first priority for restoration of service. Then, repairs are scheduled based on restoring the most customers the fastest.
JCP&L reminds customers to keep safety first as restoration begins and to stay away from downed power lines. Customers are asked to report outages at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) immediately. The more people who call, the faster JCP&L can pinpoint the locations to send crews for repairs.
On Monday evening, JCP&L proactively de-energized substations to the barrier islands in Monmouth and Ocean counties to preserve equipment and help speed the process of restoration.
Customers are encouraged to be safe and prepare for the possibility of extended outages.
- Stay away from downed power lines. They could be electrified and should always be considered dangerous. Don't walk or drive near or over a downed line, and watch out for anything touching the line. If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay inside until help arrives.
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and consider filling your bathtub with fresh water.
- Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
For updated information on the company's storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages. Or follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL for the latest information.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company 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 Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.