SUMMIT, NJ – Two big storms in a week caused about 460,000 JCP&L customers to lose power. The company restored power to about 320,000 that lost power during the first storm with 17,000 customers still waiting to have their power restored when this most recent second storm hit Wednesday. The combination of the two storms has left the company with about 110,000 customers still waiting for power.
A major source of power loss was fallen trees. Approximately 15,000 trees have been removed so far. As of Thursday, Jim Fakult, President of JCP&L, was not able to estimate when all power would be restored. The hope was to have an estimate later in the afternoon or evening.
He did say the number of JCP&L employees working to restore service is now 4,500, which compares to a normal workforce of 1,500. There are over 2,000 linemen included in the effort and some came from as far as Florida and Texas.
The first storm hit northern New Jersey hardest, primarily in Hunterdon, Morris, Warren, and Sussex counties. The second winter storm hit northern and central New Jersey and dumped as much as 25 inches of wet, heavy snow in some areas of northern New Jersey.
There is a priority to the restoration of service. According to Fakult, first to be restored are the 17,000 customers that lost power during the first storm, then critical facilities, and then the focus shifts to restoring areas with the highest population density.
Besides the heavy snow and falling trees, bad roads and strong winds also presented problems and slowed down the process of restoration. When winds exceed 35 MPH, JCP&L cannot use its bucket trucks.