New technology and targeted tree trimming prevented thousands of hours of outages over past three years
Recently installed smart grid technology is helping to keep flowing to Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) customers around the clock.
In 2019, JCP&L began installing “TripSaver” automatic reclosing devices as part of the Reliability Plus infrastructure investment program to improve the grid and enhance reliability. These devices are installed along local neighborhood electric lines and act much like a circuit breaker in your home. When there is a temporary issue on the line, such a tree limb bumping the wire, the TripSaver responds in seconds, shutting off the flow of electricity to that section of the line. The devices will automatically reenergize the line when the temporary interruption resolves to keep electricity safely flowing to customers.
If the issue is more significant, additional smart technology in the TripSavers can automatically detect and safely isolate damage in the system, rerouting electricity flow around the fault and helping pinpoint the location of the issue needing repair.
These upgrades have led to fewer and shorter service interruptions for JCP&L customers. Since 2019, TripSavers and the advanced automation technology have prevented over 3.2 million minutes of cumulative customer outages. In 2021 alone, that totaled over 14,855 hours that electricity was kept on. Results from 2022 are in the process of being calculated.
To view photos of JCP&L employees installing TripSaver devices, visit our Flickr album.
“Reliability Plus was developed to focus on enhancements that have the most reliability benefit for our 1.1 million New Jersey customers,” said James Fakult, president of New Jersey operations for FirstEnergy. “Modernizing our energy grid has given us more flexibility and resiliency to keep electricity flowing safely and keep our customers comfortable and connected.”
In addition to the smart grid upgrades, the 18-month, $97 million Reliability Plus program included trimming trees along more than 1,300 miles of JCP&L electric lines in targeted areas to address tree damage in areas of the system impacted during severe weather. This work was done in addition to more than $30 million invested in tree trimming annually to quickly address areas deemed to be most at risk of tree-caused outages.
The payoff for customers has been significant: tree trimming work prevented nearly 3 million cumulative customer outage minutes in 2021 and more than 7.5 million cumulative customer outage minutes since 2019.
Reliability Plus projects marked just the start of JCP&L’s ongoing smart grid investment. Smart meters, which will be installed starting this year, will give customers access to new levels of data that will allow them to take more control over their energy use. In addition, future programs are being planned to continue building on Reliability Plus’s success in enhancing reliability and providing safe, affordable electricity to more than 1 million New Jersey customers.