Grid Manager PJM Directed JCPL to Build Transmission Line
Jersey Central Power and Light is acting at the behest of a much larger, much more powerful organization.
Middletown, NJ – When it comes to those deeply hated transmission lines proposed to cut through the heart of northern Monmouth County, Jersey Central Power & Light is acting at the behest of a much larger, much more powerful organization.
PJM Interconnection is the manager of the electric power grid in 13 states and the District of Columbia. JCP&L, through its parent company, FirstEnergy Corp., pays PJM an administrative fee to use the grid, and hence deliver and sell electricity to customers.
PJM routinely evaluates the grid and in 2011, made a decision that the area around the Red Bank substation needed enhancement, a company spokesman told Patch Wednesday. This suggestion was made before Superstorm Sandy struck and knocked out much of the region’s power. PJM tasked JCP&L with building an additional transmission line connecting to its Red Bank substation. PJM provided a copy of their 2011 regional plan; see page 33 for the Monmouth County area PJM identified as being in need of improvement.
“Five years ago we identified a problem in the area of Monmouth County with the existing transmission lines,” said PJM spokesman Ray Dotter. “Around the Red Bank substation, there is one set of towers with two sets of power lines on it. The term we use is ‘double circuited.’ If both those lines had to shut down, for either an emergency or repair, the system couldn’t keep delivering power.”
The purple line pictured above shows the line that currently exists, which extends south out of the Red Bank substation. That is the line PJM says is problematic and that Dotter says is “double circuited.” A third line going north from the Red Bank substation to Aberdeen would boost the existing line, JCP&L says. JCP&L says they’ve rejected 16 other spots to build the third line and that the railroad right-of-way is the best route.
The idea to build a third transmission line was not so much a suggestion, but a requirement.
“When JCP&L joined PJM, they signed various agreements, and one of those agreements is that they have an obligation to build transmission lines that we’ve identified as necessary for reliability,” Dotter continued. “In the unlikely event a company refused to build what we think is necessary, we could file a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and have the commission compel them to build a line.”