TRENTON, NJ - It's been seven days since Tropical Storm Isaias slammed New Jersey, uprooting trees and snapping power lines, leaving 1.4 million New Jersey residents without power.
More than one million of those outages were repaired within 72 hours; more than 3,000 customers are still in the dark as of Monday morning, according to Public Service Electric & Gas and Jersey Central Power & Light.
State Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16th has joined with his 14 colleagues in the GOP Senate minority to demand better from the Board of Public Utilities and the state's power utilities and in a letter to New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso, they remind him that ratepayers subsidized billions of dollars to improve the resiliency of the power grid after the devastation casued by Superstorm Sandy, in 2011.
The GOP lawmakers letter calls for strengthening the resilience of the State’s electrical power grid and formulating comprehensive plans for emergency responses in the future.
Following is the full text of the letter:
Dear President Fiordaliso,
As you are well aware, New Jersey was recently hit by Tropical Storm Isaias. While the storm initially knocked out power to nearly 1.5 million residents, it is our understanding that days later, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans are still without power. This is one of several storms over the past several years that has caused widespread power outages and wreckage throughout the state.
We commend the hardworking men and women who have come from all over to help New Jersey rebuild after this storm. We appreciate the efforts of everyone working night and day to bring power back to the hundreds of thousands of homes still without power, but we must do more. We must demand accountability from the utility companies, and ensure that plans are put in place to prevent mass power outages like this from occurring in the future.
We write to ask you and the entire Board of Public Utilities to take swift action to require utility companies in the state to create emergency response plans to ensure a fast and effective response to storms. Further, it is critical that utilities begin to take proactive actions that will help prevent any disruption in service in the first place. Finally, we ask that you require the implementation of emergency communications plans so the residents of New Jersey are informed of power outages, updates, and other critical information in a timely manner.
Again, we are extremely grateful for the hard work of those who are out on the frontline restoring power to residents. We realize we are all working toward ensuring the safety and health of our fellow residents, which is why we believe it is so important to demand accountability and responsiveness from the utilities operating in the state.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.