US utility Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) said it plans to spend $359 million in upgrading its grid infrastructure to improve the reliability of its networks.According to a local publication, JCP& L will use the $359 million smart grid investment to maintain, upgrade and expand its energy transmission and distribution system throughout 2017.
Smart grid investment and grid performance
The $359 million smart grid investment falls under efforts by the utility to improve its customer services to some 1.1 million consumers in the company’s service territories in 13 counties in northern and central New Jersey.
JCP&L will install new communication technologies and devices such as transmission protective devices and circuit breakers within its grid network to improve remote-control capabilities of the energy distribution system.
The installation of the smart grid sensors and devices is expected to help the utility to quickly detect grid failures and reduce the duration and number of customers affected by outages.
The $359 million smart grid investment will allow the construction of 34.4KV and 16 miles of 230KW transmission lines and the replacement of substation switches, underground cables and overhead poles.
[quote] Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L, said: Customers have benefited from the continuous investments and enhancements made over the past decade to JCP&L's transmission and distribution systems. "During that time nearly $3 billion has been invested
"During that time nearly $3 billion has been invested to strengthen our electric system. In addition to the improved service reliability, the infrastructure work is designed to accommodate future growth in New Jersey's economy."
Demand response and grid reliability
JCP&L is a subsidiary of US-based integrated energy company First Energy which serves more than six million consumers.
The news follows an announcement made in late January by First Energy that its utility companies operating in the US state of Pennsylvania will offer demand response (DR) programmes to their industrial and commercial customers.
In a press statement, FirstEnergy said its utility companies Met-Ed, Penn Power and West Penn Power will help their industrial and commercial customers to shift heavy energy usage during peak periods to when energy demand on grid networks are low.
The DR projects will be deployed in partnership with DR capacity providers EnerNOC and CPower to help customers to reduce the use of their HVAC systems, switch off lights which are not being used or to temporarily shut down industrial processes to be able to reduce their energy consumption.
Participants of the DR programmes will receive incentives for reducing their energy usage during peak periods from 2017 through to 2020 during the months of June to September.
John Dargie, vice president of the Energy Efficiency department at FirstEnergy, said: "In addition to saving energy, businesses that participate can reduce the demand on the electric system and help prevent potential increases in electricity prices when demand is high."
In total, FirstEnergy owns ten utility firms operating in the US. Read more...
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