Line by LineThe Car-Pole Accident
Our Line by Line blog offers a first-hand account of the work performed by JCP&L crews.
March 21, 2018 - 8pm
One of the most common causes of power outages in severe weather is the car-pole accident — CPA in utility-speak. And it stands to reason — snow falls, roads get slick and drivers find themselves surprisingly short on traction.
Fortunately for the driver who had this experience today, no one was injured, and police responding to the accident had the car removed very quickly.
The driver was southbound when she managed to get her car up over the curb, shattering the pole just above the ground. Then things got scary, as the car rolled onto its roof, shattering the split rail fence in the background.
Many places in New Jersey have large telecom cables beneath the electric wires on utility poles. Those cables are often sturdy enough that impacts from tree branches or even whole trees result in bent or leaning or even broken poles instead of broken wires. In this case, you can see that the pole broke twice, once at the point of impact and once just below those large telecom wires, leaving the pole top suspended in midair, still connected to most of its sturdy wires.
In this case, the pole belongs to Verizon, so JCP&L crews went to work immediately making the still-live primary lines safe to work near by wrapping them in rubber blankets that won’t conduct electricity. Our folks also removed what they could from the existing pole before Verizon arrived. When they get here, we’ll move our trucks out of the way to allow them to remove and replace their pole.
Then, JCP&L crews will install the cross arms they’ve assembled on-site and move the electric service lines from the broken pole top to the new pole. They’ll also inspect the streetlight to see if it can be reinstalled or if it’ll need to be replaced.
The good news is that only a dozen or so customers were inconvenienced by this CPA and its aftermath. However, this job still required the work of several line crews, several police officers to keep the road closed and a Verizon crew, and it’ll take about eight hours to complete the work.
Just another half of a 16-hour shift on storm duty.
For safety tips, outage information and details on JCP&L's efforts, please visit our storm information page.