Remembering The Past: Jersey Central Power & Light

Remembering the Past by Diane Norek Harrisonby Diane Norek Harrison

SOUTH AMBOY-More from my cousin, John E. Cooney: “May 1950 was, of course, the explosion of the munitions’ barges about 550 yards from the plant. My Dad, John and Uncle Jimmy Guilfoyle were on duty. Although the plant suffered major damage it was protected by six silos full of hundreds of tons of coal that offered some protection against the force of the blast. The operators at the time were awarded the ‘Claud L. Matthews Award for Valor’ for ‘acts of devotion to duty by public utility company employees wherein outstanding courage has been shown in efforts to maintain important electric services or restore service in the shortest possible time.’ Mr. Matthews, owner of a prominent electric equipment business was also active in civic affairs.

“When the plant stopped burning coal, JCP&L installed four ‘combustion turbines’ or CT’s. Each was capable of producing 60MW of power and could be brought ‘on line’ and produce power in about 15 minutes. These units are electric generators driven by jet engines. Again, the fuel was oil. #2 or diesel oil.

“GPU reorganized in the early 90s and Werner Station became part of GPU/GENCO. The plant saw limited use and was finally closed after an extensive boiler failure 1997 or ’98. The CT’s, I believe, may still be in service. GPU/GENCO was sold to SITHE ENERGIES, INC in 1998.”

If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ 07201

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