On the Rise

Bob Brandeberry (r.) inspects the installation of the automatic gate that completes the flood wall recently constructed at the Sussex substation.

January 16, 2020

Water and electricity don’t mix. When flood waters rise too high, we must shut down parts of our distribution system for safety and to protect our equipment.

To help avoid this scenario and continue to ensure safe and reliable service to customers, a special flood wall has been installed around JCP&L’s Sussex substation as part of the JCP&L Reliability Plus infrastructure improvement plan. “The substation’s location is within a flood zone of nearby Clove Brook in our northern New Jersey territory,” said Bob Brandeberry, who’s on special assignment overseeing the plan. “Based on a history of previous floods, the improvements are designed to protect the substation and prevent such outages in the future.”

Did You Know?

JCP&L Reliability Plus investments include more than 1,400 projects intended to enhance service reliability for the company’s 1.1 million customers.

The project called for construction of a four-foot-high, L-shaped concrete wall across the front and down one side of the substation’s perimeter. Around the rest of the perimeter, heavy duty, interlocking steel sheets – such as those used to reinforce river or lake shorelines – were driven several feet into the ground. Four feet of each sheet was left above ground to match the height of the concrete section of the wall.

To allow maintenance crews into the substation, one part of the wall includes an automatic, waterproof gate. This solid metal panel normally sits level with the ground so vehicles can drive over it. “When water begins to inundate the area, the gate automatically responds to the rising water,” Bob explained. “It gradually floats upward until it reaches a certain point, when a mechanism trips and the gate fully closes. The gate uses no electronic sensors or switches – it works solely off the pressure of the rising water.”

The company previously installed a flood wall with two gates at its Monmouth Beach substation, according to Bob.