Mayor Calls For JCP&L Meeting; State Legislators Holding Forum
Following 'crummy job' by utility company, local and state officials trying to organize sit-down
Local and state officials are trying to organize a meeting with JCP&L management to address the company's response to the recent storms, while state legislators are planning a forum for the end of the month to address how best to move ahead with the recovery.
Mayor Jeffrey Foster on Wednesday said he was working with state Assemblymen Dave Rible and Sean Kean, as well as with Neptune Township Mayor Randy Bishop to organize a sit-down with the utility company following JCP&L's response to the recent storms.
Foster said he and Bishop were particularly interested in coming up with a solution to the power problems created by the failure of the Glendola sub-station, located at Marconi Road and Brighton Avenue.
The substation, which powers portions of Wall and Neptune, is on the banks of the Shark River, sitting just a few feet above tide levels. During Hurricane Sandy, the substation flooded, causing a major power outage in both towns.
"Everyone knows they (JCP&L) did a crummy job,'' Foster said. "My main concern is the Glendola station and why it was underwater and what we can do to change it.''
Rible, a Wall resident who also was out of power for nearly two weeks, on Wednesday said he was drafting a letter to JCP&L requesting the meeting.
“There’s a total sense of frustration (with JCP&L),’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Rible, Kean and state Sen. Robert Singer are setting up an open forum, to be held at 6 p.m. at Nov. 29 at town hall, for residents and municipal leaders in the shore area. Details of the meeting are still being worked out, according to Kean’s office, but Rible said the forum is intended to vet ideas on what is needed from the legislators to bolster recovery efforts.
“We want to hear about what we have to do to be more responsive, legislatively and to proceed with recovery efforts,’’ Rible said. “When there’s this kind of devastation, there’s some spending that has to be done and that spending may have to be accomplished legislatively.’’
The moves are the latest in a slew of criticisms facing JCP&L following the hurricane and Nor'easter that plunged thousands into the dark for up to two weeks.
In Tinton Falls, Mayor Michael Skudera has called a meeting of Monmouth County mayors to discuss the utility company's response to the storms. It is the third such meeting.
During the power outages that followed Hurricane Sandy, both the Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management decried the lack of "truthful, accurate and timely'' information coming from JCP&L about power restoration efforts.
"It's no different than it was during (Hurricane) Irene,'' Foster said. "Nothing has changed.''
Foster said the failure of the Glendola substation caused a portion of Wall, and the Shark River Hills section of Neptune, to be without power for an extended period of time, and that the failure could have been prevented.
"It's always been a problem as long as I remember,'' Foster said. "It's four feet above tide level. We had 13-foot storm surges. We need to come to some conclusion with this.''
Foster added that the response from the company's management to requests for information may have been terrible, but he had praise for all the line workers who came out to fix the power lines.
"Those guys were great,'' Foster said. "We've got no problem with them. It's the management.''