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Lawmaker Calls On JCP&L To Release Local Substation Plans

Assemblyman Sean Kean wants state's second largest utility to begin raising or moving lowlying substations

Assemblyman Sean Kean is repeating a call for Jersey Central Power & Light to present a plan to raise power Monmouth County substations prone to flooding during major storms.

Kean, R-Monmouth and Ocean, in a release last week said that the utility company in December said it would present a plan to raise power substations that flooded or nearly flooded during Hurricane Sandy. In the release Kean specifically mentioned the Glendola substation in Wall, where he is also the municipal attorney, and substations in Sea Girt and Manasquan.

Encroaching water threatened the latter two stations in the November storms, while the Glendola station was inundated.

Substations convert electrical power from high voltage to low — or low to high voltage — and distribute it to the power grid.

“In early December, JCP&L said they would let us know what their plans were for addressing this issue,’’ Kean said. “We shouldn’t have to experience another major storm to understand what, if anything is being done to alleviate the susceptibility of the substations.”

JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano on Tuesday said the utility was working on a solution, along with the state Board Of Public Utilities, the state agency that oversees JCP&L.

“It’s part of the ongoing discussion we’re having with the BPU,’’ Morano said. “It’s something we’re engaged in and we’re in the process of looking at ways to accomplish that.’’

Morano did not set a timeline Tuesday.

JCP&L came under heavy criticism for its response to Hurricane Sandy when up to 2.7 million homes and businesses in the utility’s coverage area were without power for up to 13 days.

Numerous municipalities throughout the coverage area of the state’s second largest utility company passed resolutions outlining suggestions to make JCP&L more responsive and better prepared to handle emergencies.

In Wall, where the flooding of the Glendola substation was blamed for an extended power outage in a large swath of the township, the governing body sent a sharply worded letter to JCP&L, calling the company’s response “atrocious.’’

In his release, Kean says that the utility would go a long way toward mending relationships with its customers by detailing how they would raise or move lowlying substations.

“Everyone agrees that communication between the utilities and the public needs to improve,” Kean said. “This would be a good first step.”

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