The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council received an update on how Jersey Central Power & Light is spending $200 million to upgrade its systems and infrastructure to help the town withstand wind and rain storms with fewer outages.
Speaking at the body's regular meeting at Town Hall Tuesday night, JCP&L Area Manager Michael E. Obremski told the council that the utility is on the lookout for patterns of frequent outages to determine ways to reduce the number of electrical outages in Morris, Sussex, Passaic and other counties.
"We are bringing in 200 new trucks to New Jersey by the end of this year," Obremski said.
He said the trucks will be outfitted with a state of the art system that will allow "push-button communications with our dispatch center in Morristown," along with GPS systems that will help trucks know the location of other JCP&L crews in the area.
"That's going to speed up restoration as we move forward," he explained.
Council member Paul Carifi Jr. noted that blackouts are a common concern in Parsippany.
"Even if there's light wind and rain, there are areas of town outages," he said.
Obremski said areas that suffer regular power outages are being targeted.
"We have engineers walking around where there is an issue," he said. "We upgrade constantly. If we see a pattern in Parsippany, we'll spend time doing tree trimming, because most of our outages are due to fallen trees."
He also said that the company will have a new storm emergency 800 number that will not be released to the municipality or the public until an emergency strikes.
"I hope I never have to give you that number," he said.
The utility manager noted that JCP&L is responsible for municipal lights only, adding that it is important that residents and business owners call the company at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) as soon as their power goes out.
Another option, Obremski said, is to use the company's website.
"If lights go out, even light poles, they can be reported to JCP&L online," he said.