South Orange Urges Other Towns to Join in Call for Utility Probe

November 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The village is pushing for a legislative investigation into the response of utilities in the wake of Sandy and is urging other Essex County towns to join its call to action.

In a news release, Village President Alex Torpey said other municipalities have asked for a copy of the resolution adopted at the Nov. 12 Board of Trustees meeting (see related story here).

That resolution asks the state Legislature to compel Public Service Electric & Gas, and all public utility companies, through legislative action, to adopt the recommendations resulting from this investigation.

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Torpey said Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca of Maplewood acknowledged that the PSE&G system “is broken” and that he was “getting more information from people from Texas, Mississippi and Pennsylvania than from PSE&G.” DeLuca said he plans to ask the Maplewood Township Committee to consider passing a sister resolution this week.

According to Torpey, village officials are working with representatives of 27th District to find statewide solutions. Legislators have said new measures are being considered at the state level.

South Orange Trustee Howard Levison noted in the news release that PSE&G’s response had an impact beyond restoring power to its customers. “PSEG was a critical path to many of our critical infrastructure components, from re-lighting our gas lamps to replacing poles so that our communication providers – Verizon and Cablevision - could begin their repair efforts," he said.

Although in the news release Torpey acknowledged that South Orange did not suffer as much damage as other New Jersey communities, village officials are concerned that without advocacy for legislative fixes, those communities won’t get the relief they need and proper procedures won't be put into place to prevent this from happening again.

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