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As Power is Restored, Many Question Response Time

Residents and officials are upset with long response times in restoring power

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m.

JCP&L adjusted their estimate on Tuesday to reflect that all East Windsor residents will have power restored by Nov. 11, while Hightstown residents will see power restored by Nov. 11. The remaining 5 JCP&L customers in Cranbury will have power restored by Nov. 10

According to an East Windsor Township alert Wednesday morning, township officials continue communications throughout the day with JCP&L representatives seeking township power outage status and activity for those who remain without power. As of 2:30 p.m., East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov said the township is aware of five homes still without power, which are currently being worked on.

The township reported this morning that JCP&L crews had been actively working at Dutch Neck Road and Drew Lane, and power has been restored to some homes in that area.

On Tuesday power was restored to most remaining affected areas on the west side of East Windsor, the township reports, including Dutch Neck Road, Dorchester Drive, Exeter Road, Jeffrey Lane, Debbie Lane and Buxton Drive. Power was also restored to a section of Brooktree Road and to 147 units in Brookwood Garden Apartments on Hickory Corner road.

Since JCP&L does not provide specific customer locations to the township, East Windsor officials said they are seeking to identify all residents who remain without power and to determine the cause of the problem. The township asks all residents who remain without power or who are aware of homes without power to call 609-443-4000, ext. 214.

PSE&G provided updated their estimates for the remaining 142 Cranbury customers without power on Wednesday. They project to restore power to 26 customers on Wednesday, 25 customers on Thursday,  27 customers on Friday, and 41 customers on Saturday.

Power restoration crews may continue to work as long as winds are below 40 mph. Area weather reports for this afternoon into the evening from the national weather service predict winds between 20 and 28 mph, with possible wind gusts up to 47 mph.

President of JCP&L Don Lynch said today on a call with NJ 101.5 that the storm could slow restoration times. 

He said the company is restoring customers at the quickest rate possible.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 4:30 p.m.

Areas of East Windsor, Hightstown, and Cranbury continue to see power restored, and the number of residents without power is slowly dwindling.

However, despite these lowered numbers, many residents and officials are frustrated with utility companies’ response times, most notably JCP&L’s.

Gov. Chris Christie released revised power restoration plans that he received from JCP&L and PSEG on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The plans show the companies’ overall restoration projections at the municipal level.

According to JCP&L’s town estimates, all East Windsor residents will have power restored by Nov. 10, while Hightstown residents will see power restored by Nov. 11. The remaining 5 JCP&L customers in Cranbury will have power restored by Nov. 10

JCP&L officials reported to East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov on Monday evening that power has been restored to 97 percent of East Windsor Township, according to a township alert. JCP&L currently reports 342 East Windsor customers and 23 Hightstown customers remain without power.

According to the township alert, JCP&L crews are actively working to restore two affected electrical substations that deliver power to a large section of the west side of East Windsor. Power has been restored in East Windsor to a large section of Dutch Neck Road, portions of Oak Creek Road, and many other neighboring streets, and communities along One Mile Road, as well as additional segments of Route 130. Power was also restored to Melvin H. Kreps Middle School.

“We will continue our active efforts to assist our community and will share information as received,” the township alert said.

During Hightstown’s council meeting Monday night, council members expressed their sympathies to residents who were left without power after the storm for several days, some of whom still remain without power.

Councilman Robert Thibault drafted a resolution, which passed with a 5-1 vote, that calls for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to investigate JCP&L’s performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The resolution acknowledges residents’ vocal dissatisfaction with JCP&L’s lack of communication concerning the restoration of power and the much higher level of communication from other public utilities and businesses, including PSE&G, Comcast, and Verizon.

“If it’s going to be five days, great, just tell me that it’s going to be five days so I can plan accordingly,” Thibault said. “It was not knowing that was creating this undue stress.”

By passing the resolution, council affirmed that it shares the public’s dissatisfaction and frustration with JCP&L’s failure to provide accurate, specific, and frequent information concerning power restoration.

“I think there has to be some accountability by utility companies,” Hightstown Mayor Steven Kirson said.

The resolution will be forwarded to the BPU for their consideration.

PSE&G provided more specific data for the remaining 71 Cranbury customers without power on Tuesday. They project to restore power to 27 customers on Tuesday, 13 customers on Wednesday, 13 customers on Thursday, and 18 customers on Friday.

According to a Cranbury Township alert, Cranbury Office of Emergency Management has been in constant contact with PSE&G Office of Emergency Management with regard to the power outages on Evans Drive, Brainerd Drive, and Park Place.  These streets are in the PSE&G system and are scheduled with the pole replacement crew, the announcement said.

Many East Windsor Patch readers have expressed their frustration through comments on Patch articles. Some said they plan on attending the next township council meeting on Nov. 12 to air their grievances, while others have contacted the BPU, Mironov, Rush Holt and Chris Smith, and other local and state officials.

Below are just a few of the comments left by Patch readers:

Casperspooks wrote at 6:06 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2

“JCP&L has offered nothing more than the canned response of "power will be restored in 7 to ten days" for days now. While it's understandable that it will take time to recover from this catastrophe, their meaningless statements are appalling. They, like any public business or entity, should be held accountable for their lack of transparency. Transparency contributes to determining just how well or not they are meeting their obligations. It's inexcusable that EW is not provided with better updated information by this monopoly. They obviously have a field management team that manages their service crews and plans accordingly. THEY SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO SHARE THESE PLANS IN AS FAR AS HOW IT RELATES TO THE PROGRESS OF BRINGING AREAS BACK ONLINE. Delivering canned messages highlights their complacency, laziness, and lack of accountability. When utility services cannot be provided due to circumstances, updated information should not be kept secret.”

Joe wrote at 7:33 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3

“The funny thing is, I get daily email updates from PSE&G regarding power restoration progress, and I don't even have them for electric, only gas! Not one email from JCP&L, who does provide my electricity.”

Eric wrote at 8:25 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4

“I urge everyone reading this who still has no power to file a complaint with the Board of Public Utilities. Problems that I have experienced include: 1) No updates from JCP&L 2) No one answering telephone at JCP&L 3) Excessive wait time for power restoration. 4) Inadequate preparation for storm. They should have powered down the substations during the storm so they can be restarted after the storm without delay.

“File complaint at http://www.nj.gov/bpu/assistance/complaints/inquiry.html

“Contact Congressman Smith at http://chrissmith.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm”

Rajiv wrote at 12:12 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4

“JCP&L has really neglected east windsor. Bring back PSEG.”

ledzep2112 wrote at 7:07 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4

“Outrageous wait times. We all have been more than patient. The time has come to stand up and defend this Township and not be pushed around or bullied by JCP&L. ANY other utility company is better than this one. We should at least try PSE&G. Considering we live in the interior of NJ and not on the shore the wait times especially for Dutch Neck and surrounding roads in nothing short of UNACCEPTABLE. Please Mayor Mironov, do something. Citizens - let's bring this up at next meeting and show our outrage. Put up or shut up.”

Bruce Roller wrote at 10:48 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5

“JCP&l should be held accountable for slow repairs compared to pse&g, as well as not providing specific details requested by the East Windsor Twp.”

Allyson wrote at 2:50 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5

“The Mayor of Sea Bight has literally been in communication with the actual workers asking THEM what they need and what HE can do to help them speed along the process! I think our Mayor needs to care a little bit more about the TAXPAYERS who keep her in office and pay her salary! This is unacceptable to let JCP&L get away with this because they are incompetent and cannot get their act together. Our neighborhood is pitch black at night. How about some spotlights in the area so we can see pedestrians walking their dogs at night? This is disgraceful.”

Jake wrote at 4:33 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5

“The sad state of affairs in EW is the result of what happens when one person has total control over local government. Clearly there has been a severe lack of emergency planning and preparedness. For years we have listened to speeches about preserving open space, attracting business and keeping municipal taxes stable but never a word about protecting our residents. While Sandy may have been the biggest storm we have ever experienced, flooding and power outages are not new to EW.”

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Jill November 06, 2012 at 11:04 PM
East Windsor Patch has been the best source of information throughout this storm. Thank you!
Dave Bell November 06, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I heard from the superintendent of the schools more than anyone else. I got e-mails and phone calls with updates from the superintendent, never one e-mail or phone call or anything from the Hightstown officials or JCP&L. Just would have been nice to be informed
HT November 08, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I agree Dave that the Superintendent gave the most updates but Hightstown also sent them out often. East Windsor's were short, full of blaming JCPL for "not calling us back", etc. Disappointing.
Dave Bell November 08, 2012 at 10:26 AM
HT, where did you receive info from Hightstown? I must not be on the list or something. Last year during Irene I got phone calls about the water, this year I didn't get a single call of e-mail.
Dottie November 08, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Does anyone know if power is back on at Gardenview Apts/ Windsor Regency condos? I'm out of town.
HT November 08, 2012 at 03:54 PM
It came from the Nixle emergency text system. Text the word "yes" to 888-777. Updates were from Hightstown FD. Very knowledgeable to what was happening.
Dave Bell November 08, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Hope to never need the service, but know I will, so thanks for the info.
casperspooks November 09, 2012 at 04:35 PM
The way NY governor Cuomo summed up his situation applies to NJ: "The utility system we have was designed for a different time and for a different place," Cuomo told a news conference. "It is a 1950s system. ... They have failed the consumers. The management has failed the consumers." "I believe the system is archaic and obsolete in many ways. They are basically one of the last monopolies. ...," Cuomo said on Thursday. "If you are unhappy with the utility company, who do you fire? Who runs it? Who owns it? Where do you get them?" "Part of this is the system. But with LIPA, I also believe part of it is the management, which has been unacceptable. They failed. They have failed the consumers. It is that simple" There have been posts in other threads regarding whom you can email and/or call to make sure those with the power to pressure the utilities to perform satisfactorily do so. If your elected officials don't hear from you, they'll simply assume you're happy with your utilities' emergency response. Seize the opportunity to be heard; others will join you if you spread the word.

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