Gov. Christie told a gathering on Long Beach Island on Wednesday that the coming Nor'easter and anticipated snowfall would likely cause "a setback" in the work underway for full power restoration.
Boy, he wasn't kidding.
JCP&L, on its website, is acknowledging that the nor'easter has created new outages, often for customers who were hit with outages in the height of Sandy's destructive path, had power restored and are now in the cold darkness yet again.
"Late Wednesday, heavy, wet snow and high winds from the nor'easter resulted in approximately 120,000 additional power outages in the Jersey Central Power & Light service territory," says the JCP&L website. The company serves 13 counties in New Jersey, including Monmouth and Ocean.
There are currently 76,685 outages in Monmouth County and 86,957 in Ocean County, according to the JCP&L outage map, which also has current town outage totals. More than 20,000 are now without power in Toms River.
"This is in addition to the approximately 149,000 customers still without power from Hurricane Sandy," the website says.
The statement continues:
"Monmouth and Ocean counties, which were some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, also were the hardest hit yesterday – 100,000 of the 120,000 outages are in these counties, where more than a foot of heavy, wet snow fell.
Crews from JCP&L, contractors and other utility companies are working around-the-clock to restore service to customers. Approximately 90 percent of the customers affected by the hurricane have been restored, including about 30,000 customers who were restored yesterday.
In total, JCP&L has nearly 14,000 professionals, including 6,000 linemen and 1,500 forestry workers, focused on restoring service to customers. An additional 1,600 line workers are arriving today to assist with restoration."
Just one example of the kind of "setback" that has occurred is Point Pleasant Beach, the oceanfront town where many homes to the east of the NJ Transit train tracks flooded during Sandy.
On Nov. 1, there were 1,066 outages in Point Pleasant Beach. This afternoon, there are 2,007 outages there, according to the JCP&L outage map.
Point Beach Business Administrator Chris Riehl said on Thursday that a number of residents have called her to say that they had power restored after Sandy, only to lose it again during the nor'easter.
In Point Pleasant Borough, the town just to the west of Point Pleasant Beach, where many homes in low-lying areas or on or near the creeks, lagoons and Barnegat Bay were flooded, there were 7,359 outages on Nov. 1 and 4,387 outages today. While that shows a decrease, some residents are saying they had been restored after Sandy and are now out again.
The Borough of Point Pleasant Facebook page posted the following on Thursday afternoon: "The most recent information, according to JCP&L: The majority of customers that do not have power, including those that experienced new outages as a result of Wednesday's nor'easter, will have power restored by Saturday evening, Nov. 10.
"Some communities will have their power restored by Sunday evening, Nov. 11, where our line forces must replace the service wire to their homes. Devastated areas, including areas of the Barrier Islands, where we were not able to begin service restoration until recently, will extend into next week."
There are also some households who have had no power at all for 10 days. JCP&L data does not show exactly how many customers in each town had power restored since Sandy, only to lose it again during the Nor'easter, compared to how many of the current outages are those who have had no power at all since Sandy struck.
Patch is waiting to hear back from JCP&L to ask for that break-down.
Patch will also ask JCP&L for reaction to Gov. Christie's statement today at a public briefing in Somerset that all power customers with outages will have power restored by Sunday.
The governor's statement, as reported by the Associated Press, is as follows:
"Gov. Christie says Wednesday's nor'easter caused only a slight setback to Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts and he expects all New Jerseyans to have power back by early Sunday at the latest. The governor Thursday praised the work of the utilities and utility crews, who have been working 16-hour days.
"He said Jersey Central Power & Light's performance in this storm has been 'significantly better' than it was during Tropical Storm Irene.
He also cautioned against trying to make villains out of anyone in the disaster. He says 'the villain in this case is Hurricane Sandy.' "
The utility's statement on its website continues:
"We are repairing the new damage while evaluating the overall extent of the damage. The additional resources should help us stay on track. We will provide updated information as soon as it's available.
'Everyone at JCP&L understands the hardships of extended power outages because we live and work here, too. Thousands of people are working day and night to restore service to our customers,' said Don Lynch, President of JCP&L.
'The new nor'easter, although not as strong as Hurricane Sandy, has the potential to slow down restoration and cause new outages. We urge all our customers to prepare, just in case, and ask for their patience while we deal with the weather's next onslaught,' said Lynch.
'We have the largest contingent of linemen and forestry crews JCP&L has ever seen, as well as experienced professionals from many state and federal agencies. Together, we will finish the job of restoring power as soon as possible.'
JCP&L is completing restoration to police and fire departments, water and sewage treatment plants, hospitals, schools, and gas stations. Many of these priority customers require extensive repairs to connect.
While JCP&L is responsible for bringing service to a customer’s home, if there is damage to the electric connection to a meter, it must be repaired and inspected by a qualified electrician before crews can restore service."
For customers still without power, JCP&L set up charging stations for cell phones and tablet computers at locations where free ice and water also are being distributed.
The JCP&L "charging station" closest to the Point Pleasant area is at Brick Township High School on Chambersbridge Road in Brick. However, Brick police said on Thursday afternoon there is no longer a charging station there, only distribution of free water and ice.
In Point Pleasant Borough, the Purple Iris Flower and Gift Shop on Route 88, just west of the River Avenue intersection, and the Step Up Learning Academy, 1521 Beaver Dam Rd., are open for residents to charge their phones, tablets and computers.