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JCP&L Utility Trucks Go High Tech With Laptops

Look out Mother Nature.  Jersey Central Power & Light crews will soon have a secret, high-tech weapon in their arsenal:  laptops inside their trucks.

Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ

Up till now, when storms have brought down trees and toppled power lines, JCP&L linemen would use two-way radios, cellphones and clipboards in their vehicles.  The days of folding up that annoying map and scrambling to find a pen are over.  The utility company is spending $5 million dollars to install the laptops in 400 trucks.  It’s something that has been in the works for a couple of years but they are finally getting a chance to do it.  It couldn’t come at a better time, especially after a wild Summer filled with thunderstorms that created havoc for utility companies almost on a weekly basis.

JCP&L spokesman Todd Schneider says “this is great.  We are so excited about this initiative.  Police and EMS vehicles have had laptops inside them for years.  We are now taking what we can do to the next level.  Customers will defiantly notice a difference.”

Some of the benefits include better accuracy of finding problem spots during outages, the ability to reach a spot faster thanks to GPS technology in the vehicle and direct and instant communication between the dispatchers and those out in the field.

Schneider adds “there is an added benefit to the worker who already has a tough job ahead.  They can find out information on potential problems with the click of a mouse using our grid map.  This is separate from what the public gets to see on our web site.  It goes more into the circuits that are affected.”

The money being spent comes from their capital budget.  They have already started rolling them out in Berkeley Township and Lakewood in Ocean County.  Other areas will be getting them soon.

All 400 vehicles should have them in place by the Spring of 2013.

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