NJ regulators approve $79M grid upgrades for AC Electric

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday approved a five-year $79 million grid modernization program for Atlantic City Electric to improve system reliability. The expenditures will increase the monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 716 kilowatt hours about 49 cents, or 0.4 percent, upon completion of all projects after five years.

ACE filed a petition in 2016 seeking $176 million for the PowerAhead Program. The utility, the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund, and an industrial customer, Unimin Corp., settled upon the lower amount, which the BPU approved Wednesday.

The company described the program as a comprehensive plan to modernize the electric grid by addressing vulnerable areas on the system that have experienced extended outages during recent severe storms.

The improvements include rebuilding about 15.5 miles of distribution feeders, burying some lines underground, constructing system ties to barrier islands to improve resiliency, upgrading conductors, and replacing single-operations fuses with reusable electronic fuses intended to automatically restore service.