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More Than 4K Still Dark as Nor'easter Nears

JCP&L eyes restoration before snow falls, DPW says it's ready to work around obstacles.

Some 4,198 Washington Township residents woke up, again, to no electricity Wednesday morning and meteorologists are calling for a storm that could dump several inches of snow on the ground by day’s end.

Utility provider Jersey Central Power & Light has crews working in the municipality, and will work until conditions become unsafe, according to the company’s spokesperson Ron Morano.

There are currently 5,000 linemen working in New Jersey to restore power, with anywhere between 200 and 500 more arriving Wednesday.

“Based on the damage in certain areas, like Washington Township, it’s been a rough process,” Morano said. “We’re making every effort to get as many people online (before the storm comes). This has been a labor intensive project.”

Percentage-wise, Washington Township remains at the top of the county’s list of residences in the dark. With those outages comes downed trees and power lines, which will likely impede clean-up efforts from today’s storm, according to Washington Township Department of Public Works Superintendent Scott Frech.

The storm is expected to begin before noon Wednesday and end around 7 a.m. Thursday, Frech said. DPW personnel, which have been working non-stop since Sandy hit the area, are gearing up for another potentially long night.

Frech said the crews’ equipment will be ready for whatever the Nor’easter brings, but will need to prepare for obstacles.

“We can’t take a plow through an area where there are down (power) lines,” Frech said as a safety issue. “So in those areas we’ll have to just salt the area and let it run its course.”

Frech said his crews will be using smaller plows to avoid power lines and remaining roadway debris, but he’s optimistic snow accumulation on roadways won’t be severe.

Failure to Communicate

As most residents know and have felt in the past nine days, power restoration has been an arduous process, to say the least.

The system has run differently this time around, as compared to last year’s late October snowstorm, according to Frech.

With so many out-of-state workers coming to unfamiliar territory, local coordination and communication was imperative, Frech said, but lacking.

“Last year, by day four, those tree crews were following our lead on where to go and what to do,” Frech said. “This year has been different. We had one crew last week making progress on a road, and they were pulled off the job and sent to do work in Warren County.”

Frech said he feels some of the workers should be staged locally and staying in town as they did last year, but that isn’t the case this time around.

The first days after Sandy, communication between foremen and tree-cutting crews with the town was going well, Frech said, but dropped off significantly last Friday.

Like the residents driving around town seeking answers, Frech said he checks the same heavily-damaged areas every morning on his way to the office, but sees little to no improvement each day. 

“We’ve done so much and I’m so proud of our guys and the work they’ve done,” Frech said. “But it’s just been a really frustrating process.”

tracy November 07, 2012 at 03:51 PM
It is completely unconscionable that Washington Township has over 4,000 outages affecting homes and business, the most in Morris County. JCPL has acted as if this municipality does not exist, and instead has worked on restoring power in other areas where it is better for their bottom line - hence giving them the ability to say they restored power to more people in more densely popluated areas. Well many of those municipalities work off of natural gas and sewer water unlike those in Washington Township. Those children have had the ability to go back to school while those in this town have to try and juggle child care so they can go to work and earn a living to pay for the gas needed to power generators (if available) for the 10th day in a row. Streets in this town are hazardous. JCPL should have been rmoving the downed trees and wires before this next approaching storm instead of waiting to see what additional damage may occur. This is the fourth time in 5 years we have lost power for an extended period of time in this town, and the third time JCPL has left restoring Washington Township last (or nearly last). This is unacceptable. This will be more unacceptable if after this upcoming storm JCPL chooses to restore power to any new people affected before giving power to the ones already out and never restored. They need to be held accountable!!
Nancie Karaitis November 07, 2012 at 04:03 PM
It's the same way in Lincoln Park, NJ... everyone I talk to has yet to see a single power truck come thru town. We get next to no information about their progress.. tho it seems as if there has been none!
mary November 07, 2012 at 04:37 PM
This is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable. Havent seen a single power truck or anyone from JCPL working on the mountain. What do people do with small children? Older parents or the elderly? Thankfully, houses were not brought down or ruined like by the shore and power is the only issue, but starting day 9 without it is absolutely ridiculous and affects each and everyone daily lives. What happened to being better prepared from the past experiences? Is it difficult to understand that if they left an entire township without power, making it the highest township without power in all of Morris County, they should probably start working...? Unacceptable, dangerous, and beyond my understanding how people can be treated like this.
tracy November 07, 2012 at 05:01 PM
JCPL's website says that the "majority" of customers in Washington Township will have power back by 11:59PM Sunday November 11th. Of course they do not define "majority." Not onyl have they been lying all week but they have put forth no good faith efforts to restore power up until this point. The only way they will care is where they are hit the most - in their pocket!
Walstib95 November 07, 2012 at 06:45 PM
The JCP&L web site indicates that between "501 - 5,000" customers are without power at the current time. The bubble that comes up when you put your cursor on Washington Township is 4,200 without power. It is riduculous that this many families/businesses and schools (3) are without power and no reliable information as to when the power will be restored. Why haven't our town officials been in contact with JCP&L? If they have, why haven't they communicated this on our town's web site? Wholesale failure of leadership.
JoAnn Spilman November 07, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Re property taxes. Normally we have a 10 day grace period, so township gives us 6 days more yet power out for 10+++ days. Better idea - let's start penalizing the township for this inadequate performance DAILY and deduct from tax bill.
Elaine November 07, 2012 at 06:53 PM
The only help we have had is our neighbors. If not for them, we would still be trapped behind a wall of fallen trees. Flag lots don't exist when tree removal is needed. My husband & I are both in our 60's but we are trying to cope the best we can. After speaking to JCP&L, I got the impression that we might have 2 more weeks until power is restored.
JoAnn Spilman November 07, 2012 at 06:59 PM
What happened to our township officials? I voted for a mayor yesterday. Guess we'll hear from him when he reschedules halloween again.
Tom November 07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Where has the mayor and other township committee members been? Checking the status of houses down the shore perhaps? With so many people out of power in Wash Twp WHY IS THERE NO OVERNIGHT SHELTER HERE??? Why do we have to go to Flanders for a free hot meal; you tell me there's not one place in Wash Twp to serve a hot meal? Mayors of other surrounding towns have done immensely better at communicating with their residents through radio, facebook, txt messages, email, etc. There's just a bunch of useless information on the Twp website. I don't really care about the status of the impending Nor'Easter as I can't do anything about it. Do something for the residents of the town and show them you care. TEN DAYS!!! You can bet your ars that none of the twp committee members have been without power or basic resources for TEN DAYS!!!!
john mazzullo November 07, 2012 at 07:38 PM
jcpl = jersey can't produce light...
Keith November 07, 2012 at 07:42 PM
The power is the responsibility of JCP&L not the township. I know we are all frustrated but why is not paying taxes always the first response. Just imagine how many trees will be cleared if we cut taxes. Great idea. Nothing ever gets better by putting less money into it. Elect someone else to spend it differently. Spending less just gets you less.
Mrs.C November 07, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Call the governor's office.....609-292-6000! They are compiling a list by town, county, and service provider of those still without power.
Long Valley Area November 07, 2012 at 07:50 PM
We need to call a town netting ASAP for Washington Township get a rep from jcp&l to be there so we can voice our concerns. I'm all for being patient but its running super thin after 10 days powerless!!
jcp&lstinks November 07, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I called the Governor's office as suggested above and would recommend highly that everyone do the same! The woman I spoke to today said that she has received unprecedented amount of calls today regarding complaints from JCP&L, specifically from our area. The number again is 609 292-6000! Sounds like they are finally getting the message, but the more calls the better!
Jabber November 07, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I called as well. I'd suggest raising the lack of local leadership (Short) as an issue just as large if not larger than JCPL. Library working regular hours. Schooley's Firehouse no longer open, nothing... in the way of showers, a hose open at the Police Station, nothing expect the charity of the Emmauel church. What a joke...and it's on us.Paying one of the highest tax rates in the state for nothing. I do have to commend the local DPW crews as I have seen them hard at work clearing everything that wasn't electrified. Now spreading salt. So the consolation we have, besides the snow, is that our tax payments are delayed to 11/16. I say we have a right to deduct our expenses for this storm from the taxes, and have them shove it all the way home to Trenton.
Bill R November 07, 2012 at 09:03 PM
The JCP&L online figures tell you everything you need to know. At 10:30 on Tuesday, there were 3,943 people in Washington Township without power. As of 4:00 today, that number is 4,177. So for the past day and a half, things have gotten worse! How is that possible? Right now, according to JCP&L, we are 60% without power, by far the worst in the county, where the average is 21%. Where are these people?
Bill R November 07, 2012 at 09:06 PM
.. and by the way, the snow does not appear to be a factor. There was no improvement at all between yesterday and this morning.
Domino November 07, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Our Mayor and township committee are terrible. The power failure certainly isn't their fault but the lack of information, good communication and much-needed services most certainly IS. The town website, which not all the committee members seem to know the address of, is fillled with USELESS information. Who cares about their tax bill? We are all trying to survive. I hope that we don't lose any of our good citzens tonight because of the cold. If you can, please check on your neighbors and seniors to make sure they're okay.
Bill November 07, 2012 at 09:57 PM
For what it's worth, it looks like our mayor is taking it up with the Star Ledger. Lies and lack of service. For the record, he isn't doing a self-evaluation there. II think he is talking about JCP&L: http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2012/11/frustration_with_jcpl_grows_bu.html
Stephen Muccione November 07, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Jcpl spokesperson: Morano said. "We can't do that street-level repair until we restore power to these substations." HUH? I'm an electrical engineer and I can not conceive of any reason why downstream wiring can not be repaired in anticipation of the substation coming on line. That statement implies that they won't even start with the local repairs until the substation itself comes back on line... prolonging the length of the outage for all of use by days. Are there any lawyers here? I'd be game for chipping in for a class-action suit.
JoAnn Spilman November 08, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Everyone call Scott at JCPL now in reading PA. 610 921 6902.
JoAnn Spilman November 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I cancelled auto payment and want $50 credit a day.
Just Sayin' November 08, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Snow Plows can't get through many streets! Why couldn't they clear the debris and move downed lines off to the side of the road. Emergency vehicles too can't get to some places!! Pray there are no fires!! Definitely call the Governor!!
Sara Kalashian November 08, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Who is this person? Will he answer the phone?
Sara Kalashian November 08, 2012 at 03:31 AM
It is time for JCP&L to fess up that they have absolutely no plan to restore power in a timely fashion and no concern for the safety and wellbeing of any of their customers. What is happening in our town and across Morris County is unacceptable. I am also quite sure that power in Mendham is alive and well and that Chris Christie is not sitting in the dark tonight. His children are not freezing. JCP&L should be fined for this kind of storm response.
MTSO November 08, 2012 at 08:00 AM
Everyone in Washington Twsp should dump JCP&L and get a new supplier for their electric power. We can't change our power distribution from JCP&L at this time but I will not pay them another dime more then I have to after the way we have been neglected. The 3rd party suppliers are also cheaper and you will save some money.

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