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Wall Pols Call Out Utility's 'Atrocious' Storm Response

Township Committee calling out JCP&L, demanding better emergency response

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.’’

Keefe Pirog November 16, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Does anyone no if JCP&L will issue a credit for the 11 days I did not use there infrastructure to receive electric?
Cathi November 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Question - did you spend any time in Belmar, Lake Como, Spring Lake, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Seaside, Brick, Long Branch or any other town along the coast? If you did you might not complain about your lack of power. On a priority basis, my house in Wall, that had very little damage, no trees down, no flooding WAS NOT A PRIORITY, nor should I consider it so. I was so thankful to have a home and while it was difficult to remain without power I was always considerate of those that lost so much more. Wall residents are better than this.
anthony giunta November 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM
The only bright spot was the response of Wall public works,police,and township officials who did everything in their power including working late and on weekends to keep the town safe and to remove debris. considering the magnitude of damage it is a testament to the high quality of employee that we have working for wall township. I must have gotten at least 4 phone calls from wall township police and emergency management warning of dangers and keeping us abreast of what they knew, JCPL should face criminal negligence charges in knowing the substation would fail and in doing nothing to prevent it, for endangering all of us , for the scatterbrained approach to repair, JCPL should be ashamed of what they did to NJ residents
stndup4urrghts November 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM
JCP&L are scammers ..if you move into an apartment and there's an electric bill due from the previous tenants ..you are responsible for there over due bill! Or they won't turn it on in the new tenants name until its paid in full by the new tenant!!!They don't care about a person who has oxygen or small children...or if its 30 degrees out. IT'S NOT THE NEW TENANTS RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!
Mickey Brewster November 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Cathi. I would hope no one would argue with you about the devastation in the towns to the immediate east of us, but that should not keep us from questioning and demanding answers from JCP&L. Having been without power for 13 days was a hardship and doesn't compare to those who lost much more. Do you suggest that people in North Western NJ should not question their loss of power for longer than us, when they live 100 miles from the beach? These infrastructure questions need to be asked. I welcome Gov.Christie and our Township Comm. questions as to what is going on. We pay a lot of money for what was referred to as a "antiquated" system and should not be expected to pay for no service.
Ken November 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Cathi, you're not wrong, and no, those of us who were only without power, in the grander scheme of things, have nothing to complain about ... and yet. A little communication from the power companies would go a long way; so would a sense that they're actually on top of the problems and know what the heck they're doing. Up here in PSE&G land (I'm from Wall and my parents are still there, so I keep an eye on Wall Patch too), my power was out for 4 days, but neighbors right around the corner were out for 10. There were crews working every day in my neighborhood (from the 4th day on), but no one could solve their problem, because the power guys would see the downed tree with the telephone poll, transformer, and wires in the middle of it and say "oh, the tree guys have to deal with this first," and when the tree guys came by, they'd say "oh, no, the power guys have to deal with this first." There didn't seem to be any way for the power and tree guys to directly contact each other though, and no one seemed to have figured out that it'd have been a good idea to have the power and tree guys follow one another around the neighborhoods. When they called, the PSE&G automated system would tell them there was no record of an outage in their area, making them feel like they truly had been forgotten about. I'm sure the situation was the same in JCP&L territory; we know it was bad on Long Island since the LIPA guy lost his job. All the same basic problem: no plan, no communication.
jenni November 16, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Talk to the great guys from out of state who worked so hard and so efficiently and said: "What is with JCPL? They can't even tell us what to do." I live on the coastline. My daughter lost much of her home. But everyone inland suffered great hardships as well, especially the elderly. JCPL joins the water company as another private untilityvrgat holds us hostage while making us pay more and more.
DoubleM November 16, 2012 at 01:51 PM
BRAVO Mr Mayor! We need to KEEP PUSHING JCP&L to make their network better. They learned NOTHING from Irene.
GQ November 16, 2012 at 02:11 PM
My husband and neighbor spoke to some out of state electrical workers who were parked in their trucks in the Quail Ridge Golf Complex parking lot waiting for someone from JCP&L to arrive to give them their work orders. They were parked there for over an hour before the "boss" showed up. They were there at about 7AM. The "boss" arrived after 8AM. These workers were frustrated because,as they explained, they could not proceed to help get "the lights on" without direct orders from JCP&L
Robert McMurray November 16, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Well done Mr Mayor...
Nina November 16, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Bravo Mr. Mayor! Say what you mean and mean what you say - you are a true example! Thanks for fighting for Wall. This is all people in Wall have wanted for years, thank you.
Paul Draper November 16, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Well Done Wall Township Committee, Well Done!! You have hit the points all the "suits" don't want to see, you see now, the problem is a utility is a monopoly, working firstly, for the stockholders, then the paying customers. What's wrong with "buil as you can afford to", stockholders being made aware that during times of crisis, any crisis, or necessary system upgrades, their return might not be forthcoming. Why did so many transformers explode, I suggest it's because of the antiquated system, many of those transformers I saw personally had no primary fuses, this means that when the falling tree limbs bring wires to touch each other a short circuit condition exists, there is no way for this condition to be relieved (no fuses, remember?) the transformer is excessively overloaded, overheats, and ultimately explodes! I also spoke to linemen not associated with JCP&L, they were frustrated to say the least, they had little or no direction, and even worse, they would receive a repair order that maybe, was fixed in a short time 2hrs. or less, then there was no further repair orders available (say issued) for, sometimes, hours, they just waited. My vent is finished! Paul
kecia deveney November 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Thank you Cathi for informing us on how to feel While yes I am grateful for not enduring worse, I have a severely disabled child with a lot of needs, so when my power went out, I wasn't grateful, I was terrified.
Sickofcryers November 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Bravo, OH Come on! I was without electricity here in Wall for 11days myself, My family and I dealt with it! We had major devastation to our area. Poles,lines transformers destroyed,substations flooded out, everywhere, How in the world DO YOU PEOPLE figure the power could have been back and running any faster? Can you imagine if JCPL didnt have all the wonderful out state workers to help, YOU AMERICAN PEOPLE WOULD BE EVEN CRAZIER. This is why other countries laugh at us! We have as a counrty become SPOILED,SELFISH WANT IMMEDIATE RESULTS,regardless of circumstances. Be thankful you all have your lives,family.Boohoo No power for awhile,Many people lost love ones and their homes and livelihood. So sick of hearing you all condemm and crucify companies that worked hard during a tragedy. I pity this country,Americans when a worse situation happens to us.
Sickofcryers November 16, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Cathi, Kudos, So agree with you. So sick of hearing poor crybabies about their power. Be happy you alive and have a home and deal with it.Perhaps spend a little quality time together without electronics, but God forbid.
Sickofcryers November 16, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Criminal charges?Really? We just had a direct hit by a hurricaine and you think JCPL were Endangering you? How about the winds,the floods, the flying debri..Do you want to Charge Mother Nature and God? Sick of you Idiot spoiled, goota blame someone people. Pray you never have to see or deal with a Worse Scenerio in your lifetime.
Cathi November 16, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Kecia, I wasn't suggesting you feel any way. Just sorry to see Township leaders (in a town with very little damage comparatively) not considering themselves lucky for what we were spared. I'm sorry that you didn't have somewhere to go or someone to help you during this difficult time. Blaming JCP&L won't fix that.
Keefe Pirog November 16, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I received a $52.00 dollar credit from Cablevision.
Cathi November 16, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Keefe, did you have to ask for it or did they just give it to you??
Keefe Pirog November 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I sent them an email. There is a spot on there website,but it would not work.
North Shark November 16, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I am a Wall resident who was without power for 13 days along with many businesses in my area. First let’s get the facts straight. JCP&L recently came to a township meeting and vowed that past mistakes would never happen again, they were "prepared" , addressed and correcting the issues that the Committee brought forth after the past 2 storms. They promised clear, concise communication to the Wall Township Committee and the residents they serve. Needless to say, if this is their idea of being prepared & communicating, their stockholders aren’t making money based on good management practices rather the product they sell, because residents don’t have a choice. The substation on Marconi Road needs to be moved or elevated as the committee requested, this intersection is always flooding and they have never done anything to protect the substation in the past.
North Shark November 16, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I believe the committee should be commended for sending a letter and demanding answers. During the storm we just wanted an idea of a timeframe so we could prepare accordingly. JCP&L should have done everything that they could do to get the word out by going on 101.5 and detailing what town they were working on and when power would be restored. Personally I hate having to replace everything in my fridge every time we have a storm. JCP&L should offer residents something to compensate them for the loss. I would like to say, The Committee, Wall Township Police, the linemen that came from all over the country and the Department of Public Works who did a great job of communicating and cleaning up the town so once the power was restored we could get back to work. In the end we survived and consider this a lesson learned and to prepare us for future events which are out of our control. No one means to undermine the pain and suffering of those who lost so much during Super Storm Sandy, we are voicing our frustrations, I am sure you hold them in your thoughts and prayers as I do. We expect our elected officials to look out for all Wall residents and to be proactive. We hold them accountable, why shouldn’t we expect the same from JCP&L?
Mikeelward November 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM
http://www.app.com/viewart/20121116/NJNEWS/311160100/Power-outage-time-after-Sandy-not-extraordinary?sf7295628=1 (toolbags)
Cathi November 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Very interesting read Mikeelward. Thanks for posting.
North Shark November 17, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Thanks for the link, please note: Determining the quality of a utility’s restoration efforts after an outage is difficult to do, experts say. That’s because every storm generates a unique cocktail of mayhem that differs from location to location. Just because New York and New Jersey utilities restored power in a range that is normal by historical standards does not prove that all of the utilities in the region performed equally well, or that they performed better or worse than their peers responding to outages in other states, or that there isn’t plenty of room for improvement.
Cathi November 17, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Either glass half full or half empty. Depends on how you chose to look at it, I guess.
Joe I November 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Lets thank the Ohio and Alabama workers, they seemed to do most of the work. My home and office were without power for over a week. In the grand scheme of things it was not bad. Go to any of the coastal shore towns and be happy to have a home.

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