Sunday, October 1, 2023

Atlantic City Electric Reiterates Commitment to Reliability in the Wildwoods

Atlantic City Electric crews work to restore power at the utility's electric plant substation on Lake Avenue in Wildwood at about 11:30 a.m. July 8.
Collin Hall/File Photo
Atlantic City Electric crews work to restore power at the utility’s electric plant substation on Lake Avenue in Wildwood at about 11:30 a.m. July 8.

By Vince Conti

WILDWOOD – The Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce organized a virtual event, Sept. 6, with Atlantic City Electric’s Regional President Doug Mokoid to better inform the public about the three outages that had significant impact on businesses and vacationers across the island.

Mokoid reiterated Atlantic City Electric’s commitment to reliable and safe electrical service throughout the four communities on Five Mile Island and throughout the company’s service area. He then walked the chamber’s audience through the fire at the Lake Avenue substation, in July, and the two shorter outages that occurred Aug. 15 and Aug. 26.

Mokoid stressed repeatedly during his presentation that the issue that knocked out power on each occasion was not related to capacity at the substation.

“This was not a capacity issue. There is more than enough capacity at that substation to handle current and projected future needs,” Mokoid said.

The substation fire that started July 7 began when an underground circuit sparked a fire that spread to critical infrastructure equipment at the substation, forcing the utility to take down all three of the facility’s transformers. This was necessary to both fight the fire and to safely begin work on the damaged equipment.

Mokoid described a process that eventually restored power to all customers as working in three stages. A first set of users were restored through the ability of the utility to switch them, so that they used available load external to the substation. Mokoid said building that capacity to switch need to external sources has been an area of investment for the utility.

Next, Mokoid described the efforts of Atlantic City Electric staff to bring one and eventually two of the transformers back online, alleviating the outage in the early morning hours of July 9.

The two August outages were caused by failure of equipment Mokoid called connectors. He said it was unusual to have two similar pieces of equipment fail in a relatively small geographic area in less than two weeks. It led the utility to inspect connectors throughout the area.

Again, Mokoid explained that the outage was due to an equipment failure, not an overload of capacity. To help ensure that businesses would not face further interruption at a high point of the summer season, Mokoid said Atlantic City Electric augmented staff in the area and established a “hit team” that meets daily on any issues related to the Wildwoods.

Long term, Mokoid spoke of additional switching equipment and the use of smart technology detection equipment as a way the utility will minimize the likelihood of repeat outages and be able to switch to other power sources faster if an outage does occur.

In a question-and-answer (Q&A) period following the presentation, Mokoid explained that the essential infrastructure at the Lake Avenue substation had been overhauled in 2016, a relatively short time in the life of such equipment. He also pointed to dual transmission lines that feed the substation, once again assuring participants in the meeting that the substation had more than sufficient capacity to meet the island’s needs.

Mokoid also explained that in a large outage, the utility prioritizes how they bring customers back online by looking first at critical infrastructure, like hospitals, and then triages other repairs in order of how many customers that repair will bring back into service. He did note that some customers come online faster than others simply because of where they physically fall with respect to the overall system under repair.

The Q&A emphasized the need for multiple channels of communication during an outage, with Mokoid pointing to the company’s app, its website, and its use of social media to get the word out. Chamber representative Tracey DuFault reminded businesses to make sure the utility has their direct, up-to-date contact information.

The issue of Atlantic City Electric’s liability for business losses was very briefly touched on, with Mokoid encouraging individuals to see the information of the company’s website on damage claims. He said the company is governed by regulations and tariffs in this area and reminded the audience for the session to check, as well, with their insurance carriers concerning any losses.

Mokoid cautioned individuals to call the emergency line at Atlantic City Electric if they notice a potential problem.

“Working around electricity is a very dangerous occupation,” he said.

Essentially, leave it to the trained experts.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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