BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Berkeley Heights Mayor Angie Devanney on Thursday wrote to Gov. Phil Murphy’s office insisting that the State of New Jersey and Board of Public Utilities force infrastructure improvements “that will keep the lights on during any storm, no matter how small or severe.”
“I am writing to you out of frustration with the utility companies and state preparedness resulting in lingering power outages for the residents of Berkeley Heights after Tropical Storm Isaias,” Mayor Devanney wrote.
“Undoubtedly, New Jerseyans have shouldered an incredibly difficult year combatting the Covid-19 virus, Stay-at-Home orders, social and racial injustice, getting our small business community up but only partially running as well as grappling with tough issues impacting how and what school may look like in the fall whether launching Kindergarteners or college students.
“So, it is unconscionable that the residents of my community are now struggling without power during the warmest month of the year. What is more difficult to understand is how we have not learned from lessons of the past—late Spring storm of 2018, Halloween Nor’easter ice storm of October 2011 and Super Storm Sandy.”
Read the entire letter here.
JCP&L will continue to send nightly restoration reports to New Jersey mayors; this procedure began Thursday night. We will share those reports with our residents as we receive them. We continue to push for a more defined and specific schedule to share. You can view Thursday night’s restoration schedule here.
Meanwhile, Mayor Devanney, our Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Padovano, Police Chief DiPasqaule and Township Administrator Liza Viana are in constant communication with Berkeley Heights’ designated JCP&L representative, who has been working closely with the Township to get critical infrastructures back up and running. Our BH rep has also been communicating with Union County OEM to ensure Berkeley Heights’ priorities are addressed. As of noon August 7, our sewer plant, as well as Summit Medical Group, are two key critical infrastructures still without power. We believe we have identified the sewer plant’s outage location and are working to address it.
“I understand everyone’s frustration with JCP&L and our aging infrastructure, and I share that deep frustration,” said Mayor Devanney. “There is no doubt that changes need to be forced from the top, so that entire towns do not go without power for days on end during a storm. Fortunately, Berkeley Heights has been working with a JCP&L representative who truly has our interests in mind and has been working to ensure our emergency needs are met first and foremost.”
“I have been with JCP&L crews on the ground day and night,” added Berkeley Heights OEM Coordinator Pavodano. “I can definitively tell residents that crews are working in town around the clock. As I do daily rounds throughout our community, I communicate additional issues to be addressed directly with JCP&L and we are working closely with them to get resolved. We thank residents for understanding that emergency infrastructures need to get powered up first.”
- As of noon Friday, there were 762 homes in Berkeley Heights without power; by the end of the day, 111 more will be restored. JCP&L expects that by day’s end Saturday, 365 more will be restored. Please keep in mind that hazardous conditions, safety concerns and critical infrastructures are priorities during restoration efforts.
- For those residents receiving text alerts or calls from JCP&L incorrectly indicating your power has been restored, the Township has confirmed that residents should report the outage again directly to JCP&L to ensure your location remains in their system until true restoration can take place.
- Governor Livingston High School has also been added to the priority list, as staff needs to get into the building to begin COVID-19 preparation for the school year.
- BH neighborhoods of Countryside and Murray Hill are in fact included in BH numbers, even though they have New Providence and Summit zip codes.
- Our Department of Public Works Director has been leading cleanup efforts and will begin a chipping/branch cleanup schedule after power has been restored to all residents and they have had time to clean up their properties and drag debris to the street.
- The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad will provide a cooling and charging center today from 7 AM to 7 PM. Please wear masks at all times while in the building. 378 Snyder Avenue. They may keep the center open during the weekend; please check the Rescue Squad’s Facebook page @BHVRS for details.
As of 8:30 am Friday morning, this statement, in part, was issued by JCP&L:
Over 560,000 JCP&L customers have been restored since tropical storm Isaias produced high winds and rain throughout our service territory Tuesday. Crews continue to work around the clock to clear hazards and restore power to our remaining 227,000 customers as quickly as our safe work practices allow. A total of 788,000 customers were impacted.
1,450 hazard responders and public protectors continue to respond to wire down, broken poles and other hazard calls. These calls remain our priority as high winds toppled trees into electric equipment causing dangerous situations. Please presume every downed wire to be live and dangerous.
3,000 overhead line personnel are being assisted by 1,900 forestry crews to restore power.
Hazard response remains our priority along with restoration to hospitals and emergency response facilities such as 911 centers. Crews will focus attention on making repairs that restore the largest number of customers. They will continue to work 16 hours shifts until all customers are restored.