On the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) completed a partnership with a local electrical trade union to provide damage assessment and public safety resources to help speed the service restoration process following a severe storm or other major event.
The deal is the first of its type in New Jersey.
Known as the JCP&L-IBEW Local 102 Emergency Response Team, the initiative will include International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 102 members who will be available for dispatch following major storms to protect the public from downed wires and other hazards. In addition, the innovative program will enable Local 102 members to supplement JCP&L’s existing personnel by helping to assess damage to company equipment.
“Because many of the IBEW Local 102 members live and work in our service area, they can use their extensive local knowledge and would be available to be dispatched quickly during severe weather to help identify hazards, provide detailed damage assessments, and protect the public from downed wires, which frees up our crews to do major restoration work,” said JCP&L President Jim Fakult. “This partnership will serve to supplement JCP&L’s dedicated workforce. Ultimately, our customers will benefit from this unique Emergency Response Team because the more personnel we have working during a storm, the faster we can get the lights back on.”
A formalized training program will begin next month and is designed to incorporate participating Local 102 members into JCP&L’s storm restoration process. Approximately 400 members of Local 102 will begin classroom instruction and field training at a JCP&L facility in Phillipsburg. This will provide JCP&L additional operational flexibility with its own workforce during severe storms or major events.
“Our members are pleased to join JCP&L employees in being available to assess damage and help protect the public during a major weather event,” said Bernie Corrigan, IBEW Local 102 president. “It is a natural fit since our members have talents and skills that can benefit JCP&L customers when they need help the most. We also appreciate JCP&L’s willingness to offer additional opportunities to our members through programs such as this one.”
In addition to helping assess damage and protect the public, Local 102 members may also be able to address other electric-related work, such as repairing damaged connections on a customer’s house, hooking up generators and helping at water distribution and power charging stations.
As part of their day-to-day work activities, IBEW Local 102 members perform a variety of residential and commercial electrical contracting services throughout Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Hunterdon, Essex, Passaic, Warren and Union counties.
JCP&L also is working with other IBEW locals in New Jersey to determine if additional electrical workers can be utilized throughout the company’s 13-county service territory.