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JCP&L Better Prepared for Storms, Representative Says

New power outage maps, communication systems and laptops for workers enhance communication.

It's been nearly a year since the last October's snowstorm hit during Halloween weekend, and since then, JCP&L has improved its communication technology to better prepare for other storms, the utility company said.

At Wednesday night's Jefferson Township Council meeting, the township's JCP&L representative, John Andersen, presented the changes the company has implemented, and what officials are currently working on.

"The storms last year proved that we needed to update the technology," Andersen said.

The biggest change the company has made are the power outage maps that allows residents to report outages and see which parts of town lost power.

JCP&L's "24/7 Power Center" maps can be accessed on desktops, smart phones and mobile devices. The new website launched last spring.

Anderson also mentioned the power company has updated email and phone distribution systems. In the email system, the company can send custom e-mails to police chiefs, OEM, business administrators, or whoever they wish to get in contact with during a storm.

The new phone system, Andersen said, will be activated on a storm-by-storm basis. JCP&L will have a direct contact to work with Jefferson officials to provide the most updated information.

He also said that if a large enough storm occurs, the company will issue a 1-800 number to the town for residents to call into.

"The whole idea is to let you know much more proactively what we're doing, where we're doing it, and when it's going to be done," Andersen said.

One the things the company is currently working on is adding in laptops to all line trucks. The JCP&L workers who are out on the field will be able to access the maps immediately to see which areas are out.

Andersen said those laptops are expected to be done by the spring.

While Hurricane Sandy is approaching and may hit parts of New Jersey both this week and next, several council members asked Andersen how he thinks the township will be able to handle it.

His response was "we're going to be just fine."

takemethere2 October 25, 2012 at 03:04 PM
It is good to see JCP&L moving forward to make communications better in emergency situations and the council is taking all measures to ensure we are ready. On a different note, I feel the council should be making strides to better improve the tree situation along Berkshire Valley Road. There are many trees in need of cutting back. It's become a hazard, every storm to travel on that road in fear of trees falling as well as flooding problems at Longwood Lake that ultimately close a main thorougfare for many of us. The orange barriers to hold back the waters have been there for a number of years.
BeachBum October 25, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Monday and Tuesday could be the test on this story
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