In a strongly-worded open letter, Mayor Jeffrey Foster and the Township Committee condemned the response of Jersey Central Power & Light to the recent storms and called on state authorities to force the utility company to implement emergency strategies for future disasters.
The letter pulls no punches, calling JCP&L’s response to Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that followed “atrocious,’’saying that the company’s lack of communication was “appalling,’’ and that their response to the disaster was “disjointed, disorganized and confused.’’
The committee drew a clear line between the management of JCP&L and its line workers, who the letter makes clear are not to blame for the company’s failings.
The township committee in the letter said they planned to push Gov. Christie and the state Board of Public Utilities to require JCP&L to have an organized disaster response mechanism in place.
“As elected officials, our patience and understanding has run out,’’ the letter says. “Just as with the previous storm events in 2010 and 2011, the response to Hurricane Sandy by JCP&L was atrocious.”
The full text of the letter is attached to this article in .pdf form
The committee wants the state to require JCP&L to implement an Incident Command System – a clear system of who does what and when during an emergency situation. The letter says it is a system in which every volunteer fireman is required to be trained in before joining the fire company.
“We will be calling for the Governor and the BPU to insist the same for JCP&L employees,’’ the letter says.
The committee also pledges to continue to push JCP&L to move the substation located at Marconi Road and Brighton Avenue. That station, located just feet above tide level, flooded during Hurricane Sandy, causing power outages in portions of Wall and swaths of Neptune Township. Rebuilding the station, the letter says, is effort wasted.
“This substation is inappropriately located and is susceptible to chronic flooding during any heightened storm,” the letter reads. “Therefore, we are calling on JCP&L to relocate or elevate the station during the upcoming rebuilding process.”
JCP&L and the organizations that regulate the company, “needs to learn from the mistakes of the last three storms and we need to make sure this never happens again,’’ the letter says. “As JCP&L customers, we all deserve better.’’