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Middletown's Mayor To Co-Host Mayors' Roundtable on JCP&L's Storm Response

Local mayors will unite Monday to draw up a comprehensive list of suggestions for the power company.

Several Monmouth County mayors have publicly vented their frustration with JCP&L's response to the widespread and lengthy power outages following Hurricane Sandy. 

On Monday, they will channel that outrage into constructive use. Led by Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore and Tinton Falls mayor Michael Skudera, town leaders are going to meet at Tinton Falls Borough Hall to come up with a list of suggestions they plan to express to the power company. 

"We will share some ideas from a mayor's perspective on what JCP&L needs to do to help customers without power, in a much more quicker and efficient manner," said Fiore. "We're going to give them an action plan." 

One suggestion on the mayor's mind is to change the way the JCP&L gives daily updates during emergencies. Presently, municipal officials dial-in for an hourlong call, which includes a Q & A from everywhere in the state. 

"I ask that it be regionally-based," he said. "Issues in eastern Monmouth are not the same issues in Hunterdon County, or Morris County," he said. Fiore would like to see JCP&L split the region into two calls, addressing mayors in the northwest and addressing mayors in Monmouth/Ocean county, so both can get more relevant information. 

Another thing Fiore wants JCP&L to improve upon is how to better address a customer's lack of service. Fiore said customers must self-report their outages. 

"If they can figure out if a customer hasn't paid a bill and shut the power off, then they can figure out if a customer has not power," he said. "I think that is quite absurd."

The mayor was asked if he had other ideas. 

"I have 20 more," he said. 

The mayors' forum will be held at noon on Monday at Tinton Falls Borough Hall, and replaces the Third Annual Snow Summit in which shared services, winter storm preparedness and advances in technology was discussed. Fiore said an invitation was extended to county freeholders. JCP&L officials were not expected at the meeting. 

The meeting is not open to the public. 

Brian Stern November 13, 2012 at 09:05 PM
My parents have lived in Wall Township for over 40 years and JCP&L routinely trims back (very hard) trees anywhere near power lines. For this reason they rarely lose power and have never lost power for an extended period of time. In Middletown, apparently JCP&L does not perform the same trimming. If you ever take the time to drive around Middletown and look at the trees leaning on the power lines and hanging right above them you'll understand part of the reason for our excessive outages. There will always be harsh storms, but the damage can be greatly minimized if JCP&L were to upkeep the equipment and surrounding trees. Additionally, the poor communication with customers is inexcusable and needs to be addressed. I would however like to give a big shout-out to all of the line workers who worked so hard to get us back up and running... especially the ones from outside our state!
Lou DeGeorge November 14, 2012 at 12:58 AM
JCP&L has trimmed trees in Middletown . They were on my block late september early oct. Middletown is very large and it takes a long time to finish the work . These trees need to be removed not trimmed back . This would cost alot of money and the homeowners would fight it . Some people have said the power co should put the wires underground. In my grandparents neighborhood JCP&L planned on doing it but one homeowner blocked it because they didnt want the transformer on his lawn .
Pilgrim November 14, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Middletown has never been out front when it comes to long range planning of any kind. The only exception that I can think of is when they spent over $400,000 in consulting fees to develop a Recreational Master Plan about five years ago. There is and has been a real need to create a plan that address removing and cutting the trees that bring down the wires. There was and still is an opportunity to bring in local tree cutters in support of the "Buy Middletown" effort and local economic development that can have economic payback when it comes to addressing emergency management costs. There may be some issues with how JCP&L handled this and other storms, but addressing how to prevent long term power loss needed to be done before this and other storms hit the Township and other communities. A lot of what Fiore is doing is political damage control.
7ts November 14, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Just walking around my area in Belford I observed on Fairfield Ave trees that had actually grown around power lines. You could see were the lines had rubbed the bark off the trees. There is some responsibility of a homeowner to take care of trees on their own property that could pose a potential hazard to power lines. But many trees are too far gone (too large and too close to power lines) for a homeowner to take them down on their own.
ASimon November 15, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I'm heartened to see that the Mayor does not agree with Governor Christie that JCPL did a great job. Two weeks in the dark is not acceptable. Time to find a way to protect the power lines from tree damage if they are close to the lines. Many of us in Middletown had no damage to our homes or power lines, but were pulled into the abyss when neighbor's trees went down on the lines. There are many parts of town this is routine during any kind of storm, let alone a superstorm like Sandy.

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