JCP&L begins construction on 230-kV Oceanview project, aims for service in 2017

FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utility Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) began construction about a month ago on the Oceanview Reinforcement Project, which involves a 230-kV transmission line and work on existing substations, a JCP&L spokesperson told TransmissionHub March 21.

“We started a bit earlier than originally planned,” as work was expected to begin in June, the spokesperson said.

The overall cost of the project is $124m, with about $97m being spent in 2016, JCP&L said in a March 21 statement. When the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved the project in January 2015, JCP&L had a preliminary cost estimate of $64m. That estimate was based on dated information from when the project was first proposed, the spokesperson said.

The project, all of which is in Monmouth County, is expected to be in service by June 2017, JCP&L said in the statement. That is the same as the previous schedule, the utility spokesperson noted.

The Oceanview project will enhance reliability for customers in Colts Neck, Howell, Neptune, Tinton Falls and Wall, N.J., JCP&L said. The project involves rebuilding a 16-mile, 230-kV line along existing right of way with steel pole construction to connect substations in Howell and Neptune, along with replacing wooden structures with steel poles between substations in Colts Neck and Neptune.

The work also will include installing new equipment in the substations, including circuit breakers and remote-control communications equipment, JCP&L said.

When it filed its application with the BPU, JCP&L said it would replace existing H-frame structures with steel monopoles, and that the substation upgrades would include additional breakers at the Oceanview 230-kV substation and the Larrabee 230-kV substation.

PJM Interconnection recommended that the project be built, based on existing conditions, the need for system redundancy and the potential for future demand on the system, with a potential for voltage collapse if it is not added.

"This transmission project will make our system in Monmouth County more resilient and help meet the growing demand for electricity in the region," Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L, said in the statement. "Along with the greater redundancies provided by the new transmission line, the high-tech substation devices we plan to install will give us the ability to operate the system remotely, automatically resetting the equipment instead of having to send a line crew to investigate the cause of the problem."

The Oceanview project is part of JCP&L’s multi-year, $250m “Energizing the Future” transmission system reliability enhancement program, the utility said.