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Mayor: Power Restoration is First Priority

Council is considering a resolution to petition for removal of JCP&L from Bridgewater.

With more than 2,000 residents still without power, Bridgewater Township Mayor Dan Hayes said that restoration has to be the first priority.

"At the height of the storm, we had 14,000 without power, and this still remains unacceptable," he said in a report to the township council Thursday. "Having any residents without power is frustrating, and we are fully committed to advocating for the residents until power is back on for everyone."

In Bridgewater, Hayes said, the damage of the storm was not as severe as in other areas of the state, but, at the individual level, that cannot be said for the person who lost a house.

Approximately 50 people, Hayes said, reported that their homes had been struck by trees.

But for the most part, Hayes said, the biggest reports have been from residents without power, and the administration has been fielding those calls for the almost two weeks since the storm hit.

"I understand their frustrations, and they are shared by me and other communities," he said. "I think the governor recognizes this too, and has assumed all responsibility for making power restoration a priority."

As of Friday morning, there were 1,818 PSE&G customers without power, and all were expected to be restored by the end of the day Saturday, according to the company's workplan.

With JCP&L, there were still 509 customers without power, with projections of Sunday for full restoration.

And it is frustrations over that latter number that has residents most angry.

"When I look around, I see the damage, but I don't see the crews," Hayes said. "It is unclear how they will make this happen, and I have expressed that to the companies."

Hayes said some residents have begun to look into petitioning to have the board of public utilities intervene in allowing residents to choose who their service provider is.

"The total absence of JCP&L trucks from right after the event was scandalous," said township councilman Howard Norgalis. "They simply weren't there."

"In my area, on the eighth day, two trucks from Virginia showed up and fixed the issue," he added. "But the power company we pay our bill to, they just weren't there. I saw a lot of PSE&G trucks, they were out in force. JCP&L was simply absent."

And council president Allen Kurdyla questioned whether the administraion could actually petition to challenge having JCP&L in Bridgewater.

"The majority of the complaints seem to be toward JCP&L," he said. "Quite honestly, as a member of the governing body, I believe there's not much we can do about choosing, however I do feel that we should find out if we as a governing body can make a petition to remove JCP&L."

Councilman Filipe Pedroso said he would be interested in holding a public hearing to speak to the residents about their thoughts on the JCP&L response, and also have a representative from the company in to answer questions.

"The residents are complaining loudly, and the numbers are showing they weren't here fixing the problem," he said. "The residents weren't served by them."

Hayes said many towns around the state are currently protesting JCP&L, and even PSE&G in some cases.

"The governor feels strongly they are doing a good job, but, at the local level, that doesn't seem to be the case," he said. "I would disagree with the governor. We get responses that speak to basically a date, but the date doesn't seem believable."

Members of the council said they are in favor of looking into the resolution to support the possiblity of removing JCP&L from Bridgewater.

"I think our only traction would be the concern of reallocating the service area from JCP&L to PSE&G," Norgalis said. "They did poorly a year ago, and I realize they had stuff ready to go, but the proof would be seeing a JCP&L truck, and I didn't see that despite their efforts."

Marc Steinberg November 09, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I would be very supportive of petitioning to remove JCP&L from Bridgewater.
Jacqueline Zeiman November 09, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I question wherher the numbers that the power companies are reporting are even accurate. I live in the area of Hillcrest snd Stangle Roads off Vosseler Ave. and we are still without power and many of us have well water so that means mo rumning water as well. Yesterday a neighbor called PSE&G to inquire when we expect power back and they told her that their records indicated her power had been restored! Our entire area, probably 200 houses or more are still without power and most of us have PSE&G.
Neha Pallod Limaye November 09, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Bridgwater residents, please sign this petition... let's get JCP&L out of here! As you can see... we have the mayor on our side. http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-christies-and-township-of-bridgewater-fine-jcp-l-and-remove-jcp-l-from-serving-bridgewater-township#
Neha Pallod Limaye November 09, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Here's another petition - this one is NJ wide: http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-chris-christie-and-jcp-l-remove-jcp-l-from-service-in-new-jersey?fb_action_ids=10151158844725894&fb_action_types=change-org%3Arecruit&fb_ref=__fecAtfRhwd&fb_source=timeline_og&action_object_map=%7B%2210151158844725894%22%3A431936520200317%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151158844725894%22%3A%22change-org%3Arecruit%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%2210151158844725894%22%3A%22__fecAtfRhwd%22%7D
Neha Pallod Limaye November 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I also urge you to join this group of Facebook - we are out to make a change, be a part of it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/214956725303852/
Peter Skeels November 09, 2012 at 06:21 PM
We're still without power over on Blair Court off of Papen. Just two little streets, but haven't seen any utility workers doing any work here.
Marc Steinberg November 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Peter - I have been very vocal about our cul-de-sac -19 homes that can likely be put back on the grid within 15 minutes since every street around us has power and we have no downed wires or trees nor did our transformers blow up.
stewart resmer November 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Perhaps a quick review of the NO votes of council members on some of the past public safety issues in Bridgewater should be considered? It seems from the pattern of NO votes here on matters such as shared resources and emergency responders training that the leadership of Bridgewater has put the public safety at needless risk: Seatbelt awareness program paid for bay a grant. NO License plate readers for Police cars. NO Community Center study paid for by a grant. NO Sidewalks for school bus p/up drop off areas. NO Emergency Services and equipment sharing with Somerset County (pre Sandy). NO Emergency responders incentives for taking classes and attending meetings ($50) pre Sandy. NO These NO votes plus cutting 15 police officers? Sounds like this council was/is penny wise and pound foolish and played fast and loose when it came to budget priorities without regard to public safety.
charlie November 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
To little too late by Bridgewater elected officials. What have they done to help those in need???
Nicholas Clark November 10, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Looks like "Mr. Resmer" joined Patch on 11/7 with an agenda. Click his link and see. All his comments are against the GOP. He's for BIG GOVERNMENT and INCREASED TAXES. I doubt he even lives in Bridgewater, that's why he's so willing to increase OUR taxes. Yes "Mr. Resmer", the Bridgewater government, representing Bridgewater residents, does worry about Bridgewater residents paying more property taxes, and yes they do vote to prevent unnecessary government intrusion into our personal lives. Thank goodness they're looking out for us.
Nicholas Clark November 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM
UPDATE: Mr. Resmer does NOT live in Bridgewater, he lives in Wayne. Interesting how he's so willing to promote increased property taxes in Bridgewater when he doesn't even live here. Thanks a lot Mr. Resmer!
Vicki Charles November 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Be careful what you wish for...took PSEG 10 days to restore power to the small businesses in Martinsville and 11 days to most of the remainder of the area, including opening Vosseller Ave. No panacea here.
stewart resmer November 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM
so nicholas clark? which one are you? Nicholas Clark Voorhees NJ 40 Nicholas Clark Merchantville NJ 40 Nicholas Clark Cherry Hill NJ 40 Nicholas Clark Willingboro NJ 40 Nicholas Clark Raritan NJ 67

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