Atlantic City Electric customers in southern New Jersey experienced the lowest frequency of electric outages ever in 2021, a result of the company’s ongoing work to modernize and upgrade the local energy grid against increasingly severe weather.
Atlantic City Electric has 560,000 customers in a 2,800-square-mile service territory in eight southern New Jersey counties. The utility’s frequency of outages in 2021 decreased from the previous record low in 2020 by more than 14%, and reliability has improved by 60% over the last 10 years, the company said in a statement on Monday.
As severe weather events become more frequent, and renewable energy sources such as solar continue to grow, utilities must continue to invest in the grid to ensure reliable power for existing customers and to attract new businesses, investment and clean energy jobs to the region.
“We are committed more than ever to providing the best possible service for our customers,” said Tamla Olivier, senior vice president & COO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric.
“Achieving record reliability for a second consecutive year is a testament to the ongoing work and dedication of our employees year-over-year to provide our customers safe and reliable energy service,” Olivier said. “We will continue modernizing the energy grid across our entire service area through strategic infrastructure upgrades that will help harden the system against severe weather and will further the development and interconnection of clean energy resources.”
Each day, Atlantic City Electric is inspecting existing infrastructure, trimming trees that could impact the system, building new substations and new underground equipment, strengthening transmission and distribution lines, and installing stronger, tree-resistant aerial cables.
Atlantic City Electric, a longtime NJBIA member, also installs innovative technologies to improve system reliability, such as specialized equipment, like smart switches and reclosers, that can automatically detect issues and restore service faster by automatically isolating damage. These technologies have been a major driver in the continued reduction in outages for customers.
In August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that outlined the widespread, rapid and intensifying impacts of the climate crisis due to fossil-fuel emissions. The report called out the need for the electric grid to be more resilient because it is often the last line of defense for residents and businesses.
Atlantic City Electric continues to invest in projects and initiatives to reinforce the local energy grid, while providing customers with the information they need to make informed choices on their energy use. The company’s Smart Energy Network project includes the installation of more than 560,000 smart meters and associated equipment over the next three years to support the continued effort to bring customers a world-class experience.
On the local energy grid, Atlantic City Electric completed several key projects in recent years, helping modernize the grid and enhance reliability for customers. In 2021, Atlantic City Electric performed work on several projects to further improve service reliability. These projects include:
- Atlantic City/Brigantine Community Reliability Project – Modernizing an existing substation and rebuilding two critical transmission lines between Atlantic City and Brigantine to strengthen the local energy infrastructure against more extreme weather and improve reliability for local customers. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed by May 2022.
- Atlantic to Ocean Counties Reliability Project – Rebuilt 15 miles of critical transmission line running through Port Republic, Bass River Township and Little Egg Harbor Township to improve reliability for thousands of customers.
- Middle Township to the Wildwoods Reliability Project – Upgraded 4 miles of critical transmission line between Middle Township and the Wildwoods to strengthen the local energy grid against more extreme weather.
- PowerAhead Grid Resiliency Initiative – Completing strategic reliability improvement projects across portions of the company’s service area to modernize and enhance energy infrastructure in areas that have experienced outages during severe storms.
In 2022, Atlantic City Electric will perform work on numerous other major projects as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to modernize the local energy grid. Some of these projects include:
- Cape May Substation Reliability Project – Modernizing an existing substation on Elmira Street in Cape May. This substation serves more than 7,100 customers and is critical to customer reliability in Cape May, West Cape May and Cape May Point.
- Beach Haven Battery Storage Project – Installing a battery storage system at an existing substation on Second Street in Beach Haven to improve the quality of energy service for thousands of customers and seasonal visitors in Beach Haven and Long Beach Island during times when customer demand for energy is highest.
- Greater Gloucester and Camden Counties Reliability Project – Upgrading 10 miles of transmission line between Monroe Township and Pine Hill to improve reliability for 13,600 customers in Gloucester and Camden counties.
- Salem County Reliability Project – Rebuilding 3.5 miles of transmission line, that primarily runs along Route 130 between Penns Grove and Pennsville, to enhance the quality of energy service for thousands of local customers.
- Washington/Gloucester Reliability Project – Modernizing an existing substation to improve energy service reliability for more than 10,000 existing customers in Washington Township and about 1,300 customers in Gloucester Township.
For more information on reliability enhancement projects across South Jersey, visit atlanticcityelectric.com/Reliability.