SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Kevin Jackson

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JCP&L to Invest $200 Million in 2013 to Enhance Customer Service Reliability

Infrastructure Improvements Will Build on $200 Million Investments Made in 2012

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing efforts to improve customer service reliability, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has announced plans to invest nearly $200 million in 2013 to expand and strengthen its existing infrastructure in northern and central New Jersey, and continue rebuilding efforts in communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Under the company's service reliability program, major projects scheduled for this year include completing a new substation, building new circuits, replacing underground cables, inspecting and replacing utility poles and ongoing vegetation management programs.

"In addition to the $200 million we invested last year and the hundreds of millions spent on JCP&L's infrastructure during the Hurricane Sandy restoration effort, we are making a substantial investment this year to continue to improve the quality of service we provide our customers," said Don Lynch, president of JCP&L.  "These infrastructure investments are designed to improve day-to-day service reliability now, along with ensuring our system is ready for future load growth."

JCP&L's 2013 reliability projects have both localized and widespread benefits to customers throughout the service area.  Planned projects include:

  • Investing more than $2.5 million to upgrade more than 90 distribution circuits in a variety of communities to enhance service reliability.  The improvements – adding animal guards, spacer cable, fuses and installing new wire – are expected to reduce outages on key distribution lines that serve well over 100,000 customers in northern and central New Jersey.
  • Completing a new circuit in the Riverdale-Butler area in northeastern Morris County to provide capacity for increasing load growth and protection against loss of electric supply.
  • Inspecting and proactively replacing utility poles.  This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle.  Inspections will begin in the spring, with replacement work scheduled to be completed throughout the fall.
  • Completing and energizing the Tewksbury substation in Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, which will provide additional circuits designed to enhance the local distribution system and shorten the duration of power outages.  The project, which is expected to cost nearly $4 million, is slated for completion this summer.
  • Constructing a circuit between the Howell and Larabee substations to better support load growth and reliability for customers in Farmingdale and Howell Township, Monmouth County.
  • Replacing underground distribution cables in Manchester Township, Ocean County.   
  • Installing new poles and conductors to allow power to be transferred from one circuit to another in the Riverdale area of Morris County.  The project will improve reliability and enable additional capacity for more than 1,700 customers in the area.
  • Installing equipment to help maintain proper voltage levels, which is expected to benefit JCP&L's industrial and large commercial customers that operate large motors, drives and machinery.
  • Completing a review of substations and switching stations at risk of flooding to propose hardening measures.
  • Vegetation management to trim trees, maintain proper clearances and mitigate potential damage to distribution facilities from falling tree limbs.

The multi-year Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement (LITE) program began in 2011 and represents an additional $200 million investment by JCP&L.  For 2013, JCP&L has more than $17 million of LITE projects scheduled to be completed including:

  • Upgrading the existing 230 kilovolt (kV) line to increase capacity to meet growing demand in Monmouth and northern Ocean County.
  • Constructing a new 115 kV line from Englishtown Substation in Monmouth County to Wyckoff Substation, in Hightstown, Mercer County, to increase capacity and improve reliability in the Hightstown and East Windsor areas.
  • Upgrading Eaton Crest Substation in Eatontown, Monmouth County, by installing new 230 kV transmission facilities to increase capacity and improve reliability to Eatontown and Tinton Falls areas.
  • Installing new equipment at Raritan Substation in Sayreville, Middlesex County, to add redundancy and increase reliability in Sayreville and South Amboy areas.  This work is in addition to repairing flood damage to parts of the substation following Hurricane Sandy.

Since 2001, JCP&L has invested more than $1.8 billion in capital improvements to its distribution network.  In addition, in 2012 JCP&L invested hundreds of millions to repair and replace equipment damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE).  JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.  Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL.

Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "believe," "estimate" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially due to: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters before FERC and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from ATSI's realignment into PJM, economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins, regulatory outcomes associated with Hurricane Sandy, changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices and availability, financial derivative reforms that could increase our liquidity needs and collateral costs, the continued ability of our regulated utilities to collect transition and other costs, operation and maintenance costs being higher than anticipated, other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including possible GHG emission, water intake and coal combustion residual regulations, the potential impacts of CAIR, and any laws, rules or regulations that ultimately replace CAIR, and the effects of the EPA's MATS rules, the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including NSR litigation or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such expenditures could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units), the uncertainties associated with our plans to deactivate our older unscrubbed regulated and competitive fossil units and our plans to change the operations of certain fossil plants, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing of those deactivations and operational changes as they relate to, among other things, the RMR arrangements and the reliability of the transmission grid, issues that could result from the NRC's review of the indications of cracking in the Davis Besse Plant shield building, adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the NRC or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant), adverse legal decisions and outcomes related to ME's and PN's ability to recover certain transmission costs through their transmission service charge riders, the continuing availability of generating units, changes in their operational status and any related impacts on vendor commitments, replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or inadequately hedged, the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency mandates, changes in customers' demand for power, including but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency mandates, the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic goals, our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins, the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Competitive Energy Services segments, changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of liabilities and the value of assets held in our NDTs, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated, the impact of changes to material accounting policies, the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financing plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries, changes in general economic conditions affecting us and our subsidiaries, interest rates and any actions taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and our subsidiaries' access to financing, increased costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, LOCs and other financial guarantees, the state of the national and regional economy and its impact on our major industrial and commercial customers, issues concerning the soundness of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business, the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

www.firstenergycorp.com

 

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.

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