Vicari, Freeholders Pleased With Utilities' Storm Response

Power restoration, communication were good in wake of Saturday's storm, officials say

For months, Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari criticized officials of Jersey Central Power & Light over a lack of communication and a lack of responsiveness in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

On Wednesday, Vicari said the company's response after a powerful thunderstorm rolled through the Shore area was much better.

"We got a personal commitment from their president for extra crews and extra manpower," Vicari said, citing a meeting he had with JCP&L president Don Lynch that occurred July 3.

"JCP&L did keep their word," he said. "Under the conditions they did a good job."

The fast-moving thunderstorm, which packed wind gusts up to 78 mph and lightning that killed a woman in Monmouth Beach and struck numerous trees and buildings throughout Monmouth , left behind significant damage in its wake. In some areas, hundred-year-old trees were uprooted, completely blocking some streets or damaging homes and vehicles. Hundreds of live power lines were brought down. Other areas remained untouched, as though the storm had never happened.

Vicari said he received hourly updates from JCP&L officials, initiated by the company, about the status of electric service throughout JCP&L's territory in the county. Ocean County also is served by Atlantic City Electric, from Barnegat to Little Egg Harbor and including Long Beach Island.

At the height of the outages, nearly 40,000 homes and businesses in Ocean County were without power, more than 12,000 in Toms River.

"What was very unusual is it was spotty," Freeholder John P. Kelly said of the way the storm struck. And it compounded issues for Atlantic City Electric, which was still trying to recover from severe storms from a previous weekend.

"Atlantic City Electric was facing much bigger problems," Kelly said, noting it took 10 days for everyone who lost power in the previous storm to regain it.

Most Ocean County residents had their power restored by late Sunday, officials said.

"The power didn't come back on as quickly as any of us would have liked, including the power companies," Kelly said. "The utility companies did everything they could and worked hard to restore power under very difficult circumstances" including Sunday's high temperatures.

"There were things beyond their control," Kelly said.

The freeholders also praised first responders -- EMTs, police and firefighters -- who assisted residents and directed traffic and dealt with emergencies created by the power loss Saturday night into Sunday, as well as the county's roads department for clearing trees as quickly as they were able to access them after the utility companies removed and repaired downed wires.

"This was an extraordinary storm," Kelly said. "Everyone did a good job under difficult circumstances."

Keeping whats mine July 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Its a shame but you really need a generator for back up power. Natural gas are a bit pricey but a gas one about $600. Have an electrician wire it so all you have to do is fire it up plug it in and flip a switch. No back feed when the power comes on. Very efficient. Gotta depend on yourself, jcp&l has a third world network
Martin July 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
BPU should investigate JCP&L operations. Cracked old poles (many crooked) are an indication of old wires, transformers and other old eqpt. throughout JCP&L's system. No wonder every storm causes problems. Not much of JCP&L's multi-million profit is being invested in infrastructure each year. Despite high winds, hard rains and blizzards, I never had so many outages in PSE&G territory. JCP&L's profits (from us consumers) goes to its out-of-state corporate HQ elite, the 1%. The 99% (us) suffer the consequences. It's going to be a long summer. There are lots of other electricity suppliers available to you -- and I signed up for one to save 15% on power* -- but we're all stuck with JCP&L's antiquated distribution network that breaks down too often. *Go to the NJ BPU website and check the rates of all those other suppliers.
Jackie Ohh July 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Great now can someone please come clean up the tree that split in two and is in the street? I've called three tunes and sent an email. The tree belongs to a park across from us and is interfering with traffic and when children walk because of lack of sidewalks in this area. Maybe I should rent a chainsaw, handle it myself and sen the township the bill.
Keeping whats mine July 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Document that its been reported , take pics, and when you or your children get hurt sue the crap outta them. Its just like the lack of snow removal. Those who know somebody get it done, screw the rest. Its a lack of supervision for the workers. Cushy jobs.
Don Gottwerth July 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I must say, JCP&L has done an exceptional job is this month's roll-thru storms in maintaining power in the Whiting area, which, of course in these senior villages, has mostly buried lines. But a thank you is deserved some times, you know. This coming from me being previously a PSE&G customer in Essex County which always did an outstanding job there.


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