Power line expected to meet greater electricity demands


Plans to develop a new 115-kilovolt transmission line on Route 33 in Millstone Township are underway. The infrastructure is classified as high voltage, and the 115 kV lines are used to transmit electricity to a large service area.

Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) Area Manager Gerald Ricciardi appeared before the Township Committee on Dec. 16 to discuss the power line.

JCP&L, which is owned by FirstEnergy, provides electricity to counties in northern and central New Jersey. Ricciardi manages areas in Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties, which includes Millstone Township.

The power line will extend from what JCP&L calls the Englishtown substation in Manalapan to its Wyckoff substation in Hightstown, crossing through Millstone Township.

Ricciardi said the need for the 115 kV transmission line is due to an increase in electricity consumption. He told municipal officials electricity usage has essentially doubled in 40 years. By way of example, he described the home he grew up in and his current home.

“(My parents) had one window air conditioner, so when it got real hot, my sisters and I would sleep on the floor in their bedroom,” Ricciardi said, speaking of his home in 1975. “They had one TV. The kitchen appliances were a toaster and I believe a toaster oven.

“Today, we have six TVs, (my three) kids each have one in their room, we have one in our bedroom, one in the basement and one in the TV room,” he said, referring to his current home. “The TVs all have a DVD hooked up, or a PlayStation or an Xbox. We have three laptop computers, a desktop (computer) and a tablet. We have five cell phones, we have a microwave, and a (blender) in the kitchen.”

According to a chart Ricciardi shared with the committee, the electricity consumption rate is expected to grow 22 percent by 2040.

Ricciardi discussed the benefits of the transmission line. He said it will feed Millstone’s Applegarth substation, the largest substation in the township, which he estimated provides power to 40 percent of Millstone residents. He said the new transmission line will increase reliability for the area.

The project to develop the 115 kV transmission line began about three years ago, but was delayed because JCP&L had to acquire easements from Route 33 property owners. Ricciardi said trees in the area where the transmission line will be placed had to be cleared to prevent them from interfering with the line and causing power outages.

Ricciardi said JCP&L is now prepared to move forward with the project.

When Mayor Bob Kinsey asked how winter weather would impact the power line’s construction, Ricciardi said safety is JCP&L’s top priority.

“We are not going to work on (Route 33) when it is snowy or icy,” he said. “The (contractors) will just pack up and either do other things or they will have some time off. We will wait until the snow clears.”

Committeeman Gary Dorfman asked when the public should expect the power line to be completed.

Ricciardi said JCP&L is anticipating construction to be completed in June, with the line becoming fully operational in the fall. The projected start date for work is between Jan. 4 and Jan. 11. He said construction will begin in Manalapan before it extends along Route 33 into Millstone.