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HOLMDEL – On Tuesday, Sept. 11 representatives from Jersey Central Power and Lighting (JCP&L) will appear at the Holmdel Township Senior/Community Center for a 7:30 p.m. presentation about a four-year infrastructure plan aimed to enhance the reliability and resiliency of its services during severe weather events.
The plan – JCP&L Reliability Plus – was proposed July 13 to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), where it is pending approval.
JCP&L Reliability Plus features approximately $400 million in targeted investments – beyond the organization’s regular annual investments – to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.
Mayor Tom Critelli recently met with JCP&L Vice President of External Affairs, John Anderson, and Area Manager Kieran Tintle, as well as Assemblywoman Serena Dimaso and Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, to discuss the initiative and its impact on Holmdel Township.
“Much of our town’s power outage concerns stem from the collapse of trees and falling limbs during severe storms,” Mayor Critelli said. “This is due much in part to a lack of trimming and removal of privately owned trees and other vegetation that is outside of JCP&L’s right of way. We’re really looking forward to working with them.”
JCP&L President Jim Fakult said the plan’s focus is to limit damage during severe storms, and cited the nearly 4,000 enhancements it includes, all intended to create more dependable overhead and underground distribution lines.
Fakult also referenced the implementation of new equipment, which should reduce the frequency of outages and time spent without power.
Additionally, the plan outlines vegetation management operations that will reduce the potential for damage to power lines by collapsing tress, which is of particular interest to the municipality due to the decimation of its ash tree population by the emerald ash borer.
Noted for its torpedo-shape, the green-colored beetle is known to burrow into ash trees virtually undetected, before its larvae hollows out the trunk, leaving the shells susceptible to toppling over onto power lines during stormy weather.
JCP&L will go into further detail about the plan and how it relates to Holmdel Township at the Sept. 11 meeting.