Storm Response Earns EEI Honors

Sam Belcher (l.) receives the Emergency Recovery Award from EEI President Tom Kuhn.

January 10, 2020

​For the 14th consecutive year, FirstEnergy has earned recognition for its emergency response efforts from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). FirstEnergy received the Emergency Recovery Award for safely and efficiently restoring service to nearly 280,000 Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) customers following severe thunderstorms in July 2019.

Packing straight-line winds topping 80 miles per hour, the July 22 storm swept through JCP&L territory, toppling trees, causing extensive equipment damage and closing dozens of roads. A massive restoration effort was launched that ultimately included more than 2,300 line workers, hazard responders, damage assessors and other support staff from FirstEnergy companies, contractors and assisting utilities. Repairs included replacing more than 100 utility poles, 100 transformers and other equipment, and approximately 22 miles of wire. The joint effort restored service to 93 percent of affected customers within 48 hours of the start of the storm, with all affected customers restored by July 25.

“When severe weather impacts our region, we have well developed storm restoration plans that are quickly implemented to reduce the outage time our customers might experience,” said Sam Belcher, senior vice president, FirstEnergy, and president, FirstEnergy Utilities. “This award creates an opportunity to recognize our crews in the field who worked safely around the clock in difficult, and sometimes hazardous, conditions to help our customers.”

EEI presents awards twice annually to member companies to recognize extraordinary restoration efforts or for assisting other electric companies after service disruptions caused by weather conditions and other natural events. The awards were presented Jan. 8 during the winter EEI Board of Directors and CEO meeting.

Line crews from all 10 of FEU’s operating companies were involved in the storm restoration.

Severe winds caused this massive tree to fall on a car in JCP&L’s central New Jersey territory.