Deregulated energy markets proving beneficialNumerous grid operators and utilities are finishing up grid inspections and improvement projects in order to improve the performance of their electrical infrastructure.

Electricity demand tends to spike during times of extreme weather. We certainly saw this during the polar vortex, when grid demand reached near record levels in some parts of the country. This is also the case for the summer as well.

In the past, you may have noticed that blackouts are more frequent during the warmer months. This is because more people are using energy during this time as a result of more appliance usage, such as air conditioner units.

This grid demand can create headaches for you and your energy provider alike. Electrical infrastructure can be rather old or ill equipped to handle larger demand, meaning that blackouts in some areas may be more frequent. Repairs can be quite costly, so numerous energy providers have sought to make their electrical infrastructure more ready for greater electrical current.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey see improvements

Energy providers across New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been wrapping up their inspections and grid upgrades in order to account for this demand. For Jersey Central Power and Light, this meant upgrading transmission and substation equipment, improving circuits and modernizing distribution equipment, along with trimming trees along the company’s transmission lines. These efforts are a part of the $251 million infrastructure investment for 2014, according a company press release.

“Our annual planning and analysis includes system upgrades and repairs targeted to enhance reliability to benefit our customers prior to the start of the summer season,” said JCP&L President James Fakult. “The work completed to date increases the reliability and resiliency of our system for the summer months when customers use more electricity and allows for future load growth.”

Similar efforts are being undertaken in Pennsylvania. FirstEnergy Corp. owns a number of power providers throughout the state, each of which conducted their own inspections in order to enhance reliability. For instance, Penn Power completed helicopter patrols on nearly 700 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines to look for damaged wire and other problems throughout the service area.

Hopefully, this means that you will see far fewer, if any, power blackouts this summer. You can also help cut back on grid demand by becoming more energy efficient this summer as well. Consider opening windows and running ceiling fans, rather than turning on the A/C to keep your home cool, and cut back on monthly utility bills.

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