With the bulk of superstorm repairs behind them, Jersey Central Power and Light officials disclose an ambitious $200,000,000 plan to reinforce service to high-growth areas as well as hurricane-ravaged communities.

JCP&L Staging Area (FirstEnergy Corp., Flickr)

Contained in the 2013 Reliability Project are a new substation, circuits and underground cabling, pole replacement and comprehensive tree management.

"These infrastructure investments are designed to improve day-to-day service reliability now, along with ensuring our system is ready for future load growth," said JCP&L President Don Lynch in a prepared statement.

The company plans to commit $2,500,000 to new wire, spacer cables, animal protections and fuses to reduce the risk of outages on distribution lines reaching about 100,000 customers in central and northern New Jersey.

A 10-year cycle of systemwide utility pole inspections is planned from spring through autumn. Tree trimming is an ongoing program to keep weak limbs from falling onto overhead wires.

The company expects to fortify service in Howell and Farmingdale with a circuit to be installed between its Howell and Larabee substations. All substations and switching stations in flood-prone areas are being reviewed for stronger defensive construction.

Manchester is specifically targeted for underground cable replacement. Additional initiatives are targeted for portions of Morris and Hunterdon Counties.

Also on the board is a $17,000,000 segment of JCP&L's Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement (LITE) program that began in 2011. Among the projects:

  • An upgrade of the 230-kilovolt line that serves still-growing communities in Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties.
  • A new 115-kilovolt line from Englishtown to Hightstown to serve Hightstown and East Windsor.
  • New 230-kilovolt transmission gear in the Eaton Crest substation in Eatontown for service upgrades to that borough and to Tinton Falls.
  • New equipment in Sayreville's Raritan substation to supplement repairs forced by the superstorm.

Company executives say that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent in equipment repairs after Hurricane Sandy are over and above their investment of $1,800,000,000 in its distribution network since 2001.