There are already 137 signatures on the petition created by Sunset Lake resident Neha Pallod Limaye to get JCP&L out of Bridgewater—and now she is looking to initiate a meeting with the governor and JCP&L president to get some answers.
As of Friday, Limaye said, most of the residents of Sunset Lake had power restored, with the last home getting power back Monday afternoon.
"There were a couple people left because of some issues, and the last person was up and running today," she said. "I am not sure about the rest of Bridgewater, but I did hear some people here and there say there were some outages."
According to the JCP&L website, there are about six customers still without power, as well as a few without power through PSE&G.
Limaye is continuing with the petition at this point, despite the return of power.
"I think 137 is a good amount," she said. "We've been advocating to neighbors and friends."
And in addition to the petition, Limaye is working with the members of the Facebook group she created for those disgusted with the work of JCP&L to set up a meeting with Gov. Chris Christie, JCP&L President Don Lynch and the president of the Board of Public Utilities.
"Even though power is back in most places, we are still looking for answers from JCP&L," she said.
Her proposition, Limaye said, is for a meeting Dec. 7 between those three officials and any residents interested in being part of a town hall meeting for questions and answers about the situation.
"I'm putting together an email to let them know that we're going to be there," she said. "We don't want to go to a protest which is a one-way street."
"We want two-way communication where they are present and we are there, and we can have a discussion," she added.
Limaye said she is going to draft an email requesting the meeting, which is also going to be sent by all members of the Facebook group to all three offices.
"And we will call in and talk to assistants or whoever it is to make sure the message gets across," she said. "We want to give them the opportunity to see the message and respond and have the meeting, rather than something that goes completely ignored."
Limaye said she is not sure how many people will actually go to the meeting, but she would be happy if only 30 of the Facebook group members show.
"They're already posting questions on the group, so I'm going to compile a list of those," she said. "Maybe we can share those questions with the people we want answers from."
"We want more answers that are action items that they are accountable to report to in the future," she added. "We want to know what went wrong with planning this time, what they will do to change it and how they are going to do it."
The petition, Limaye said, is to get JCP&L out, but they still want to give the company the opportunity to prove that they can make a change.
"If they are willing to do that, that's the chance we want to give," she said. "We want answers for what went wrong now, and how it can be corrected."
Limaye said they knew the storm was coming, as did the residents, and they knew it would be bad.
"They said they were prepared, and we were prepared," she said. "We knew power outages would happen, but the mismanagement has been to a level that is beyond understanding."
In addition, Limaye said, many of her neighbors have commented that the equipment—the wires and transformers—hasn't been upgraded in a while.
"We are not sure how antiquated it is," she said. "Nobody has ever assessed that and checked if it needed to be upgraded."
"If it were, maybe it could withstand a storm and the aftermath," she added. "We don't know, and those are questions we want to go there with."
Limaye said they are just hoping to set up this meeting to have an open dialogue with the ones in charge.
"We want to prepare before we go there, and the idea is not to go and just stand outside the offices," she said. "We want to have a discussion."
To sign the petition, click here.
To join the Facebook group, click here.