JCP&L Says It Will Improve Communication With Towns During Storms

Utility company lists communication enhancements

Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) is saying that it will improve its communication with towns during "significant storm events," after the utility company was criticized by many municipal officials after Hurricane Sandy.

JCP&L announced new practices and upcoming technology improvements at meetings on Jan. 3 in Eatontown and Morristown with members of the League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey State Police.

A news release from JCP&L states that the communication enhancements will include:

  • Providing municipalities with maps showing electrical circuit routes in their communities;
  • Locating JCP&L municipal liaisons in company field offices to maintain contact with local officials;
  • Hosting targeted teleconference briefings for municipal officials about localized restoration work;
  • Deploying additional company personnel to work with municipal representatives;
  • Training county and municipal first responders on electrical safety;
  • Participating in community advisory board meetings with county and municipal leaders and emergency agencies to outline the company's restoration procedures;

"We are committed to continuous improvement for our customers and welcome the opportunity to work with state, county and municipal officials over the next several months as we implement these new practices," JCP&L President Don Lynch said in the release.

"These enhancements, which are based on feedback from customers and municipal officials following Hurricane Sandy, are designed to provide more outreach and collaboration to elected officials and customers about the company's restoration process and priorities on a community by community basis."

Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera and Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore drafted a resolution asking JCP&L to improve its services following a meeting with officials from over 20 Monmouth County towns. The resolution was adopted by several local towns including Eatontown and Long Branch.

Several of the suggestions raised by officials are listed in JCP&L proposed enhancements, but others are not, Skudera said.

"This is a good first step and I hope these improvements are implemented," Skudera said today. "However, I would also like to see what long-term capital improvements they are going to make to the ageing infrastructure."

JCP&L said it is also developing several mobile technology tools to help customers report outages and access information about their electric account.

"This month, the company will launch a new customer app that can be downloaded to Apple or Android smartphones," the JCP&L release states. "The app will make it easier for customers to report a power outage, view the company's 24/7 Power Center maps, or access their JCP&L accounts from a mobile device. The app will be similar to the company's new mobile website, which is available now by visiting www.jcp-l.com from a smartphone."

The release also states that the ability for its customers to receive outage or account information via text message or email are under development and should be available later this year.

Improvements also are being made to JCP&L's 24/7 Power Center, "including a greater level of detail about power outages, and redesigning content to ensure customers can find the information they need before, during and after a major storm."

James67 January 04, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Nice job Mayor Skudera & Mayor Fiore! Excellent to see your work and the work of the 20+ towns involved made a difference. Lets all hope the utility makes good on their promises.
Peter Koenig January 04, 2013 at 04:03 PM
It is stunning that JCP&L did not do any of this before. It's still grossly insufficient. "We are committed to continuous improvement for our customers ..." Actually, none of the six bulleted items have anything to do with customer contact. Yes, our elected officials need information - but so do we. May I suggest that JCP&L act like Jersey CP&L, instead of having our calls for help and information fielded by functionaries in Akron Ohio - like the one I spoke with, who didn't know where Long Branch was, or that it was a municipality ("But what township or borough are you in?"). The outage maps and other techie doo-dads were worse than useless during Sandy. Making them more readily accessible won't help. Thanks, nevertheless, to our elected officials for trying to improve the situation.
Lindaq Lashbrook January 05, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Agreed! It would also help if they stopped sending the revenue from NJ energy sales to the parent company in Ohio, and used it to improve service here. They also need a customer comment site that is monitored by the company.
Tara Smith January 08, 2013 at 07:20 PM
The worst part of this storm besides the cold weather was the total lack of information on when our power will be restored. Is it that you have no idea yourself or are you incapable of getting the info out? The only reason you got high scores from public opinion is because the ones without power weren't online to vote!


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