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Hornik: There Needs to be Major Changes Within JCP&L

"We knew more on the ground in Marlboro than our JCP&L representative or executives knew in their office. It doesn't work."

Marlboro Township power is fully restored, but Mayor Jon Hornik said JCP&L still has to answer for its practices.

Hornik, who was also vocal after Hurricane Irene when the township spent up to 10 days without power in 2011, said he's not sure what township officials will do next but he does know the Monmouth County utility company needs to make changes.

"I know we have a long list of things that we think JCP&L needs to do to become better in terms of responding and restoring electricity," Hornik said. "It's not only communication. The actual restoration operation is completely in the dark ages."

Like many township officials around the state, Hornik said he spent countless hours speaking with JCP&L representatives and executives. But the mayor said many of those conversations were fruitless.

"We knew more on the ground in Marlboro than our JCP&L representative or executives knew in their office. It doesn't work."

In 2011, Hornik called for improved communication from the utility company as well as improved infrastructure and ground abilities. In March, JCP&L announced the beginning of $200 million of capital improvements, including communication and circuit upgrades.

Over the spring and summer months, several announced circuit upgrades in both Marlboro and Colts Neck as well as a $5 million project to improve road crew technologies.

But Hornik said it simply didn't work.

"It's archaic, the way to report an outage," Hornik said. "Residents need accurate, live information. There is no reason why residents should be waiting for paperwork to get back to a main office before they know their line is even being worked on. It gets lost in the shuffle."

In July, the Board of Public Utilities announced an investigation after public ridicule from customers and officials across the state prompted the Rate Counsel to look closer at JCP&L's corporate structure and practices. 

The BPU is alleging JCP&L made around $90 million more than it should have in 2010, according to a Board of Public Utilities news release.

For now, Hornik is glad his residents are safe and fully restored. But the mayor said when the time comes, the township will join what will certainly be an army of county and town officials calling for JCP&L to update its practices.

Patricia Jarazo November 13, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I understand this was a major catastrophe, however, JCP&L is a nightmare to deal with on a normal basis. If we didn't have such a caring mayor, we may possibly still be in the dark. Wayne township is is trying to oust JCP&L, which is drastic but in this case probably appropriate. I understand the out of town power companies were surprised at how antiquated the equipment is, which says it all & defines this experience. I know there are smaller electric companies trying to get residents to switch, (I was getting a few calls per week in the summer) but not sure if that is worth doing. Again, thank you to Mayor Hornik & the Marlboro Patch (Kaitlyn) for being our lifelines during the past 2 weeks.
Michele Blaier November 13, 2012 at 04:21 PM
We had an Alabama company work on our lines after the snow. The crew basically said jcp&l are almost in the stone ages with technology.
anonymous November 13, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Incompetence and greed. Remember those words. 80+% of the outage problem during this and all other storms is due to incompetence and greed. We pay among the highest, if not THE highest, electric power rates in this part of the country. And what do we get for it? Outages every time there is a thunderstorm, a strong (over 40 mph) wind, or just about any weather event. Why? Very simple: incompetence and greed. When this area began to be built on, then overbuilt, then overbuilt even more, it became apparent (to anyone with a brain) that something should be done about the power lines. The utitlity companies should have begun a program of gradually putting all of the power lines underground. If, for whatever reason, that could not be done, then they should have implemented an ongoing program of cutting down any trees within 50 feet of power lines. But nothing was ever done, and all the lessons that should have been learned from storm after storm, high wind after high wind, led to nothing. Why? Incompetence and greed. What we all just lived through should never have happened. Yes, I know that substations and transformers were knocked out of service for one reason or another. But the vast majority of the problem, this time as during all previous incidents, was the power lines being pulled down or knocked down by falling trees and falling tree limbs. Yet nothing is ever done. Incompetence and greed. Will it ever change?
Eileen Fishkin November 19, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Does not everypne know that many of us not only did not have electric power, but no telephone to our homes, and no cell phone service. And no internet. So how could we possibly REPORT to ANYONE!!!! Something has to change,

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