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JCP&L's Response 'Abysmal,' Freeholder Says

Caliguire says situation in Somerset County, specifically Bernards Township 'a tragedy waiting to happen.'

If you are upset with the response utility companies have provided post-Hurricane Sandy, it appears you're not alone.

Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire criticized JCP&L's response to the storm in the northern part of the county, calling it "abysmal" in a press release issued on Tuesday.

The company's coverage area in Somerset County includes customers in Bernards, Bernardsville, Bedminster, Branchburg, Bridgewater, Far Hills, Green Brook, Hillsborough, Peapack-Gladstone, Warren and Watchung.

As of about 11:42 a.m. on Thursday, 10,894 customers were still listed as being without power in the county.

Caliguire particularly blasted the company for how it has addressed outages in Bernards Township, which has had extremely high outage numbers for more than a week compared to other towns. More than 4,500 customers were still listed as not having power in the township as of Thursday morning.

Bernards Township is in a crisis situation as a result of JCP&L’s incredibly poor response to a storm that occurred over a week ago,” said Caliguire, who is also the county's public health and safety liaison.  “We’ve been told there are still seven landlocked areas in Bernards Township, trapping dozens of homes and hundreds of men, women and children. These homes are completely inaccessible by fire trucks and ambulances. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.”

As of Wednesday, Bernards had the fifth largest number of outages for JCP&L customers in the state, and was the only one of the top five not located at the Jersey shore, according to the release.

“On top of its poor on-the-ground response, (Wednesday) JCP&L pulled its representative out of the county Emergency Operations Center,” Caliguire said. “This shows a disturbing disregard for the safety of our residents.”

Caliguire was up for reelection Tuesday's ballot. He led after the unofficial vote, but the results were still unknown, as provisional, email and fax votes still to be counted.

peter007 November 08, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Forget JCP & L. Somerset county did a very poor job in clearing the county roads. Many, many county roads were left untouched for many days after the storm. Now its been over 10 days and many Somerset country roads are still blocked with fallen trees.
PB November 08, 2012 at 07:16 PM
There are places on Bernardsville that are still inaccessible too. We were fortunate to have an electrician come to restore service but left saying that "because JCP&L poles were still broken on their right-of-way, there is nothing I can do." Something has to give!. I am not in favor of allowing just anyone to work on JCP&L lines but we were held hostage with in impassible drive for 9 days last year and 11 so far with this storm. Even a qualified private contractor can't help us. The Board of Public Utilities has to overhaul licensing rules to include performance metrics. We are in the 21st Century. Is BPU still living in the early 20th Century?
Fred November 08, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The county and townships can't risk their people handling downed wires; lets place blame where it belongs, for days towns and the county have been requesting JCP&L help to move wires so they can clear roads and have gotten no response or support. JCP&L has made choices where to deploy their assets and unfortunately for those here it hasn't been in this area.
Ann November 08, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Hey what about Rector Road in Bridgewater. We STILL have down trees and have not seen hide or hair or anyone. Come on guys lets not forget the little areas. I know the trees must come up before poles, wires and transformers can be fixed.
Steve November 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Is the county going to do curb side pick up of branches?
Poppa V November 08, 2012 at 09:39 PM
The County can't touch a tree that is entangled in a power line, only JCP&L can for safety reasons. If there was no line nearby a tree the Bernards Twp Public Works boys had the road cleared in 2 days. Everything else was JCP&L's responsibility.
Poppa V November 08, 2012 at 09:40 PM
No and neither will the towns.
Pappy November 09, 2012 at 04:30 PM
The biggest natural disaster to hit the utilities in this state in history. Thousands cannot go to their homes because they are gone. You do realize that there is more problems to deal with then your loss of power. Stop whining and deal with it. No power- get a generator. Stop asking others to solve all your troubles put the blame on others for things you can deal with.
Marilyn November 09, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I live on Spencer Rd and received power yesterday, 11/8; it took 11 days! As of 11/8 there are no detour/no-thru street signs indicating that you cannot safely go south on Spencer past Culberson. Power lines are hanging & the road curves and you could have a head-on accident. At a time like this, our Road Crew s/b out there cutting up & chipping up the wood laying in the streets or on the sides. I didn't see any town workers doing anything. Pitiful, horrible job done by Basking Ridge. I THANK! Pike from NC for doing so much work in town. And all of Tree Cutters from out of town. Thank you to the GOOD Samaritin that cut up the pine trees laying on Spencer Rd. THANK YOU!
Martin B Thomas November 10, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Gee Pappy it is sad many homes were destroyed though this storm was far from the worst. These homes are not in JCPL areas.Many JCPL trucks did not move untll after election day. First Energys attitude is shameful. Rep.Mark 30662 threatened me for calling in, Rep.Casey C11300 told me they have no way to even call the service people,
JVC November 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Pappy the difference is those people could not and are NOT in their homes! We are! With young children. My house's heating system cant be supported by a generator--i bought and tried anyway! So after paying an electrician to try, i had to go to a hotel with my kids. None of which fema will help. So our community, you know what we've been doing in the cold and dark? Organizing relief efforts, collecting and delivering donations!
Gail Zawacki November 10, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Sandy's monumental storm surge has caused epic misery. However, the damage to coastal areas cannot explain the extent of loss of power inland. What is being ignored in this storm (and Irene also) is the real source of massive power loss - trees that are falling on the power lines. They didn't used to fall with regularity on people, cars and houses. The winds in both those storms were nothing that a healthy tree shouldn't withstand. Why are they falling now? 

The answer is obvious if you actually LOOK. They are all dying. Every species, every age, every location. Symptoms are broken branches, cankers, splitting lichen-covered bark, holes, thin crowns, early leaf drop, lack of autumn color, yellowed needles. Most foresters blame climate change drought and/or invasives, which doesn't fit the evidence. Native pests and diseases are rampant, and trees watered in nurseries exhibit identical symptoms. Most people don't realize, because it's invisible, that the background level of tropospheric ozone is increasing. Agricultural yield and quality are reduced, and trees exposed to cumulative damage are universally in decline. Scientists know that ozone debilitates plants, causing their roots to shrink rendering them vulnerable to drought and wind...AND impinges on their natural immunity to attacks from insects, disease and fungus. Most of the trees that fell during Sandy were rotted inside. Photos http://witsendnj.blogspot.com

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