FLEMINGTON, NJ – Jersey Central Power & Light seems to have restored power to those left in the dark after winter storm Riley struck on March 2, but the Ohio-based electric utility still has challenges to face.

That includes facing the outcry from the public and elected officials who are critical of JCP&L’s recent power restoration efforts.

In Hunterdon, its critics include the county Freeholders and Raritan Township Mayor Mike Mangin, as TAPinto Flemington previously reported. It looks like they’ll have chance to air their complaints with the state agency that regulates utilities.

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The state Board of Public Utilities announced yesterday that it has launched its investigation into the response of the state’s electric utilities.  The storms left hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents without power -  some for more than 10 days - according to the BPU. At its peak, the blackout plunged more than half of Hunterdon into darkness.

The BPU was directed to conduct the investigation by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The “BPU will do everything we can to ensure New Jersey residents experience significant improvements during future storms,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso in a press release.

As part of its investigation process, the Board will be holding five public hearings across the state, including one in Hunterdon, the press release states.  

Fiordaliso has directed staff to schedule the first public hearing within the next few weeks. “Public input received during the hearings will be a critical part of the investigation,” he said.

In addition to hearings, the BPU will review the more than 100 utility storm protocols it implemented following Superstorm Sandy, when some in Hunterdon were without power for two weeks.  

“In particular, the BPU will be reviewing mutual aid assistance protocols to ensure New Jersey utilities make restoring power in New Jersey their first priority,” the press release states. “I assure you, we are going to get to the bottom of this,” Fiordaliso said.