In preparation for winter, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a unit of FirstEnergy Corp., is completing inspections and conducting maintenance on weather-sensitive equipment across its service area.
Winter's cold temperatures, heavy snow and wind have the potential to cause damage to poles, wires and substations, requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions. Completing inspections and maintenance of critical equipment now can help enhance system reliability when the snow begins to fly.
The work includes inspecting heating equipment for substation components, such as capacitor banks, transformers, and oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers. Some substations also include buildings that house remote-controlled relay-equipment. These structures were winterized and the heating systems inspected.
Company bucket trucks and other vehicles also are being inspected to ensure safe operation during the winter season. Special emphasis is placed on the condition of tires and any air braking systems, which can freeze up if moisture is present. In addition, snow removal equipment is being checked. Plows are used to help crews gain access to substations, and to clear the work areas and sidewalks at company service garages and other facilities.
Helicopter patrols also are completing inspections on more than 750 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the JCP&L area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspection may then be addressed.
Maintaining proper tree clearances around electrical systems is vital to guard against tree-related outages. JCP&L tree contractors have trimmed more than 3,200 circuit miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 230 miles by year-end.
Employee safety also is a priority during the winter. JCP&L's cold-weather operational procedures are reviewed with linemen, substation electricians, and meter readers in advance of any frigid conditions. JCP&L personnel often take extra measures to stay warm when working in extreme cold to restore power after an outage. Crews also could be delayed by treacherous driving conditions.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers.