MORRISTOWN, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has restored power to nearly 160,000, or about 20 percent, of its customers following Hurricane Sandy. At the peak, more than 1 million of JCP&L's 1.1 million customers were without power. Customers experienced more than 1.2 million interruptions as many customers who initially had power restored experienced multiple service interruptions.
Using helicopters, vehicles and foot patrols, JCP&L continues to assess damage to its electric system and make repairs to thousands of poles, lines and dozens of substations.
About 940,000 JCP&L customers remain without power. The majority of customers will be restored within the next seven days. Customers in the hardest-hit areas are expected to be restored in an additional seven days. Remaining customers will be restored once damaged roads, infrastructure and homes are rebuilt. Downed trees and branches have made many roads impassable, and flooding has been a major issue in the aftermath of this storm.
"The damage from Hurricane Sandy far exceeds what we saw from Hurricane Irene or the October 2011 snowstorm," says Don Lynch, president of JCP&L. "While we were better prepared for Hurricane Sandy, the damage rivals that experienced during Hurricane Katrina, one of our nation's most devastating and expensive hurricanes. In preparing for Hurricane Sandy, we positioned 1,600 line crews and 1,200 forestry professionals prior to the storm even making landfall."
Progress on repairs to damaged transmission lines is sufficient to allow JCP&L to begin providing power to substations. Six substations flooded due to the storm surge. Prior to Hurricane Sandy's arrival, JCP&L had proactively de-energized substations to the barrier islands in Monmouth and Ocean counties to protect equipment and help speed the restoration process.
JCP&L's emergency operations center has been in full operation since Monday, October 29. Mobile command centers also are located strategically around the state. Emergency services and first responders in JCP&L's service area, including hospitals, police, fire and first aid, will be given first priority for restoration of service. Then, repairs are made to restore service to the largest number of customers.
JCP&L reminds customers to stay away from downed power lines. Customers are asked to report outages at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) immediately. The more people who call, the faster JCP&L can pinpoint the locations to send crews for repairs.
Customers are encouraged to be safe and:
-- Stay away from downed power lines. They could be electrified and should
always be considered dangerous. Don't walk or drive near or over a
downed line, and watch out for anything touching the line. If a wire
falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay inside until help arrives.
-- If you have an electric well water pump, keep an emergency supply of
bottled water and consider filling your bathtub with fresh water.
-- 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.
Customers with mobile devices can obtain updated information on the company's current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe. Customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages. Or follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL for the latest information.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.