Today, JCP&L reported on their outage map, about 350 outages still exist in Monmouth Beach, Brick, Toms River and Berkeley Township. Many of the homes without power are uninhabitable. There is a handful of outages in most towns in Monmouth County.
JCP&L came under considerable fire for failures to communicate with dozens and dozens of municipalities and customers during the massive outage. During it’s peak, there were more than 1.3 million storm-related outages in our JCP&L service area. It took 4-10 days before most people had their power restored. Still, others waited longer.
Many, many crews were brought in from Alabama, Ohio, Texas, and a dozen other states to help weary Jersey folks. People who during the third and fourth days of the outage would, when entering the bathroom, flick on the light switch, only to remember, it would do no good; those wretched car-dwelling, cellphone-charging, smartphone cruisers who would seek whatever shred of information they could; and pleading, kid-bedraggled moms begging the question “when, oh when, will the lights be on?”
After the worst had past, mayors from several towns got together to wring their hands about the lack of information from JCP&L. The Mayors were lambasted by readers in the Press for the effort as “political.” Borough Halls were inundated with calls from frustrated citizens wanting answers. Administrators in many towns complained they were unable to get timely responses from JCP&L – if they got responses at all.
Stories have emerged about antiquated equipment. Anecdotes about how many of the younger out-of-state linesmen had never seen these kinds of transmission systems. Calls have been made for years to bury lines (like that nice stretch on Rumson Road in Rumson). But the cost is prohibitive, goes the argument against it. Perhaps, now, during reconstruction, equipment upgrades will be made and buried lines will be revisited.
The public utility, JCP&L answers to the NJ Board of Public Utilities. Board of Public Utilities spokesman Greg Reinert, speaking to an NJ.com reporter said the agency is open to having meetings with the public, and is in the process of scheduling the hearings.
“We’ll have public hearings just like we did for Irene around the state in each of the electric distribution companies’ territories,” he said.
BPU should schedules meetings in Monmouth County. BPU and JCP&L would both get an earful.