MORRISTOWN, N.J., Sept. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is closely monitoring Hurricane Joaquin and is making preparations should possible high winds and flooding hit parts of its northern and central New Jersey service territory and cause power outages.
Some of the aggressive storm preparation steps that have been taken include JCP&L crews setting up specially designed flood barriers and pumps in several key substations as an added precaution should rising water levels cause any issues with the electrical system.
JCP&L also has contacted International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Locals 102 and 400 about the possibility of securing additional hazard responders during storm restoration efforts, if needed. In 2013, JCP&L was the first utility in New Jersey to develop an initiative to use local electrical union members to assist with storm restoration activities, especially protecting the public from downed wires.
"As we prepare for this storm, we are implementing many of the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, including using new technology and processes to help accelerate the restoration efforts," said Tony Hurley, JCP&L vice president of Operations. "We also are working to secure additional linemen and other personnel to assist with outage restoration efforts, and have engaged our staging site vendor, if needed."
Based on weather forecasts from company meteorologists, JCP&L has staffed additional dispatchers and analysts at its regional dispatch offices, and has put additional line, substation and forestry personnel on notice that they will be needed should severe weather occur. In addition, contractors have been notified they could be required to assist with storm restoration efforts over the next several days.
Other steps JCP&L is taking to prepare for Hurricane Joaquin include:
- Preparing to activate its Emergency Command Center and Incident Command System
- Communicating with emergency management officials, state officials, regulators and local officials about our storm preparation efforts
- Beginning preliminary planning for staging areas for outside crews and equipment
- Working with mutual assistance groups to arrange for outside utility crews to assist in New Jersey.
FirstEnergy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link at www.firstenergycorp.com.
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive important information in advance of major storms, and updates on extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.
More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.
In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris. Motorists are cautioned to treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops.
For severe weather, the company encourages customers to plan ahead for the possibility of electric service interruptions by following these tips:
Safety Tips During Outages
- Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in your home. Avoid using candles to light your home, especially around children and pets.
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
- Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person.
- 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.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
- Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). 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 at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.