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Jersey Central Power & Light upgrading local substation

By: Chris Bishop |

Jersey Central Power & Light has completed a $2 million substation upgrade in North Hanover that company officials said will enhance customer service reliability and help meet the growing demand for electricity in Burlington County.

The upgrade at the property on Cookstown-New Egypt Road included installing two 5-ton, 230-kilovolt circuit breakers and connecting them to existing substation equipment. The new circuit breakers will provide greater operational flexibility and resiliency for the local and regional transmission network.

“The work we have done to enhance our infrastructure is expected to benefit more than 19,000 customers in Burlington County,” said Anthony Hurley, JCP&L’s vice president of operations. “By upgrading the substation in (North Hanover), our system should be more resilient and provide us with more options to help shorten the duration of power outages, if they occur.”

The project is part of Jersey Central’s previously announced plans to invest $251 million in 2014 on service reliability enhancements and other work, including its “Energizing the Future” transmission projects.

Wrightstown Mayor Tom Harper, whose town is a Jersey Central customer, had nothing but praise for the utility, which serves 15,740 customers in the county.

“We seldom lose electricity,” said Harper, who owns a gas station in the borough next to the sprawling Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. “Even during Superstorm Sandy, we were only out of power for two hours or less. As far as I’m concerned, Jersey Central is an excellent company.”

Jersey Central is one of several utility subsidiaries of FirstEnergy, based in Akron, Ohio.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, FirstEnergy said that as of Jan. 31, its available liquidity was $2.8 billion. Capital expenditures for 2014 were expected to be about $3.3 billion, an increase of $1 billion from 2013 primarily because of increased transmission investments.

Over the next several years, these capital expenditures, including the transmission expansion program, are expected to be funded with a combination of debt, equity issuances through the stock investment and employee benefit plans, and the projected $320 million annually in cash preserved as a result of the dividend action taken in January.

Jersey Central, which had 1,374 employees as of Dec. 31, 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.

FirstEnergy, one of the largest electricity producers in the country, serves customers in New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The other major utilities serving South Jersey are Public Service Electric & Gas, the largest utility in New Jersey; South Jersey Gas and Atlantic City Electric, which serves a small number of customers near the Jersey Shore.