JCP&L expects to restore power to 85% of customers now without electricity – including 20 streets in Chatham Township – by 11:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, August 7th

As of today, JCP&L had forestry crews removing trees and wires on Southern Boulevard, Huron Drive, Pine Street, Warwick Road.  However, we have not seen any power restoration crews.  The Township has not received updates on repair work to all of the substations serving the Township.

At 4 p.m. today, JCP&L showed 1,343  customers in Chatham Township are still without power. That number of power outages in the Township initially stood at more than 3,500 according to JCP&L.

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In a phone conference at 3 p.m. today, JCP&L executives heard high levels of frustration from Mayors of municipalities across New Jersey. The phone conference focused on global issues but Mayors unanimously were dissatisfied with the level of communication about specifics relating to individual towns.
JCP&L reported a severe disruption of service caused by Hurricane Isaia which struck New Jersey on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
— 788,000 JCP&L customers were without power immediately after the storm.
— 168,000 JCP&L customers remained without power as of 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7.
— JCP&L anticipates power will be restored to 85% of its customers by 11:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, Aug. 7. 

— Power may not be 100% restored until 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

Frustration levels were high in Chatham Township where residents of one street received a series of conflicting messages from JCPL in less than 45 minutes on Friday.
At 2:19 p.m. residents received a text message that “repairs had been completed” and asking if power was on. When the response was “No” the automated response was to expect power by 11:30 p.m. on Friday.
At 2:45 p.m. the same residents received a text message stating “the majority of outages” should be restored before 11:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 11.
And at 2:55 p.m., a repeat of the 2:19 p.m. text message was received.

In the Township, the Municipal Building, the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Tanglewood and all the sewer pumping stations along River Road continued to operate on generator power as of Friday afternoon. Township officials have repeatedly asked unsuccessfully that the sewer facilities be assigned priority status due to the serious consequences that would result from a generator failure.

The traffic light at the corner of Shunpike and Lafayette remained out as of Friday afternoon. Restoration numbers for the Township did not show the 531 restorations projected for Thursday and Township officials were less than confident we will see the additional 302 projected for Friday.

The frustration in Chatham Township was dwarfed by the experience in Florham Park where Mayor Mark Taylor reported a serious house fire caused by a home generator. Chatham Township Police Chief Thomas Miller has issued multiple ACTNow alerts warning residents to keep generators outdoors away from open windows and any flammable materials. Chief Miller has also urged Township residents to stay away from all down power lines due to the danger of electrocution.

JCP&L officials ended the 3 p.m. conference call with a sobering message to suburban communities that prize their trees. Almost all power outages are caused by falling trees and limbs, they said. They asked for a better partnership with counties and towns to solve what JCP&L views as a tree problem, but which residents view as a necessary characteristic of a suburban community.

We will be joining with surrounding towns in the coming weeks to discuss with JCP&L how to prevent future power disruptions when serious weather events inevitably occur.  We must all take action to ensure that the health, welfare and safety of our residents, as well as our economy are protected during and after future severe weather events.