NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The borough is starting to see activity up on Oakwood Drive and Holmes Oval, which is a good sign, said Mayor Al Morgan in his Saturday morning update. He also confirmed that crews are working on Runnymede.
Mayor Morgan said a partial restoration of power on Mountain Avenue has been reported, however, he said, it will be necessary for a "hard shut down" at 3 p.m. on Saturday that will impact surrounding areas while that system is being repaired.
"DPW and crews on the ground continue to perform stellarly. We are so grateful and appreciative of all their efforts. I just spoke with our JCP&L rep, who is reporting back to me after conclusion of their morning meeting. We will continue to keep you updated as we receive confirmed information."
In his latest update on Saturday at 12 noon, he said, "OEM Coordinator and Police Chief Gazaway and I have been relentlessly pressing JCP&L and will continue to do so until every home and business is restored. We will continue to update you with confirmed information."
He added, "In addition to letters of complaints, calls, and meetings to Governor, commission, and all concerned parties regarding this situation with JCP&L, I have already personally reached out to our state legislators to work on putting together a Mayors Summit to prevent this situation from ever happening again. My plan brings all parties together with the Public Utilities Commission to focus on prioritization on the local level during outages and improved communications and accurate information flow. It is vital that each municipality have better (or at least some!) control at the local level of prioritization of crews during outages. The way it currently works, only big clusters are prioritized for maximum restoration numbers, which is of little use or comfort in a community such as ours with so many homes and businesses affected. Everybody pays their fair share, and should be treated at least somewhat equally. Minimum crews should be assigned to EACH municipality. This can NEVER be permitted to occur again. I will continue to do all I can for a better solution and will continue to provide you confirmed information.
"Please hang in there. We will get through this, and then we will work to solve this situation once and for all. We have had ENOUGH! Thank you all for your patience and understanding. Please continue to look out for each other, and help each other as we get through this nightmare. Pioneer Strong!" - Mayor Al Morgan
Friday's Update by Mayor Al Morgan
"Today has not been a good day for good news."
He listed the "actionable items" that were accomplished in the post-Isaias clean-up that include a tree removed from Pitney Avenue and a tree removed from Fairview Avenue.
"After repeated calls and requests, we were just told by JCP&L that no restoration of power will occur today, which is completely unacceptable. We can not even believe it. We are continuing relentlessly to press JCP&L to take care of our residents. Unfortunately, we are completely at their mercy."
He said that today’s Mayors’ conference call discussed the many frustrations, and lack of action. "We will keep you informed as soon as we hear or see any progress. JCP&L has a lot to answer for. We will continue pressing them until every home and business is restored. Please stay strong," he said.
He cleared up some questions residents have asked:
- JCP&L has two divisions: JCP&L Forestry Division, which is responsible for tree and branch removal. And JCP&L Power Division, which is responsible for power restoration. These two divisions work independently of each other.
- The borough's DPW can only remove trees and branches which are not entangled with power lines. Only the JCP&L Forestry Division can remove trees and branches with entangled power lines and wires.
- JCP&L answers to the Public Utilities Commission.
"Despite today’s disappointments, our OEM, DPW, Police, Fire, EMS, and our Borough employees have been stellar, going above and beyond during this crisis. We are so appreciative of all their efforts. Our community has really stepped up and has been helping each other, which honestly, is helping to get us all through this mess. Mayor and Council thank each and every one of you!"
The charging station at the Recreation Gym on Academy Street will remain open between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until all power is restored. Please wear a mask and socially distance.
"We will get through this.
JCP&L Information: As of Friday evening, the JCP&L website reports 1,010 customers remain without power in New Providence. This compares to 321 outages in Berkeley Heights and 2,450 outages in Summit. If a customer received notification from JCP&L that your power is ON, yet it's not, JCP&L needs you to report the outage again to ensure your outage gets restored. Customers should call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com.To safeguard the health and safety JCP&L employees, contractors and the public, please respect social distancing protocols as utility personnel work around the clock to restore outages caused by Tropical Storm Isaias.
Water and ice are available to customers without service due to the storm. For a list of locations, visit http://www.firstenergycorp.com/storminfo and click on "water and ice locations."
For updated information on the JCP&L's current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Thursday's Mayor's Storm Update
After being on the road trying to get the borough up and running, Mayor Al Morgan said in his latest storm update, he is outraged at JCP&L's non-responsiveness and misinformation pertaining to restoration of outages throughout the borough.
As of Thursday afternoon, JCP&L reported 36 percent of New Providence customers remain without power.
Morgan's update said:
I just got off the road after a very long intense day of trying to get our borough up and running with a very uncooperative and unresponsive JCP&L. I am a very understanding man, but my patience is wearing thin. I take people at their word and am fully prepared for whatever the reality is, but don’t mislead me. There are simply no excuses for JCP&L’s non-responsiveness and misinformation. Through years of storms and power outages, this one has by far been the worst. Communications are sparse at best, and information has been way off and incorrect. During today’s Mayors’ conference call with JCP&L we were told we would receive estimate times of restoration (ERTs), however, specific sites were not included so this report they just sent me is basically useless. Outraged is too soft a word to express how I’m feeling about this situation, which pales in comparison to what those of us without power are experiencing. After we are all up and running, this situation with JCP&L will be very sternly addressed.
All this being said, the crews and workers on the ground have excellent and extremely helpful. We did make significant progress today. The Sagamore area has been restored as well as Crescent and Edgewood Avenue areas. Trees have been removed on Princeton Drive. Hopefully more neighborhoods will be restored by tomorrow.
Our Police Chief and OEM Coordinator, Theresa Gazaway and I have been relentlessly pressing JCP&L and will continue our full court press until every single home and business is restored.
With many mayors pleading with JCP&L to improve communication, the NJ Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) Tweeted Thursday afternoon:
"We know how frustrating it is to be without power. We are in constant communication with the utilities, and they are working around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. We will keep you updated as new information becomes available."
To answer some of the many questions I have been receiving:
1. The electrical grid is not part of the borough’s infrastructure. We have no control over it. We can not change it nor do we have the ability to upgrade it.
2. We have no ability to switch electric companies because it is JCP&L’s infrastructure in our borough. They own it and they are the carriers. Even if we bought electricity from another provider, JCP&L would still be the carrier.
3. Nelson Tree Service has been contracted by JCP&L and has been working throughout the summer trimming trees and branches around power lines.
4. The biggest issue with this storm is that trees snapped taking out lines and poles. No amount of tree trimming or re-enforced infrastructure would have been able to prevent power loss with such extreme tree and storm damage.
5. Restoration is taking so long because damage was extreme and widespread. It wasn’t only New Providence affected but also surrounding communities. JCP&L only has so many crews, even with bringing crews in from out of state.
The last couple of days have been trying and our nerves and patience frayed. Believe me, we share your frustration and aggravation. Please hang in there. We will get through this. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. We will continue to keep you updated. Stay strong.
- Mayor Al Morgan
Mayor's Update as of Wednesday, 8/5/2020 at 9:30 p.m.
We are very happy to report significant restoration progress in New Providence. Our downtown and many neighborhoods are thankfully now up and running. After taking another tour around our borough with DPW Director Ralph Parlapiano this evening, many of our neighborhoods are rapidly being restored and many roads are being cleared. There is still a long way to go for full restoration and clean up, but we are feeling a whole lot more optimistic. JCP&L crews are still out there working so please stay strong. We are getting through this mess.
- Mayor Al Morgan
Mayor's Update as of Wednesday, 8/5/2020 at 6 p.m.
I was hopeful my 3 p.m. JCP&L conference call would have had better news for us. It was quite the opposite. Damage is so extensive and widespread JCP&L can not provide us an optimist restoration time or any estimates. We have, however, been assured work will continue around the clock and through the weekend by JCP&L in and out of state crews. At this point, we should not expect full restoration until after the weekend. As soon as we receive an estimate time of restoration, we will immediately put it out. We know this is completely unacceptable, aggravating, and upsetting news, which I, along with our neighboring Mayors, expressed to them in no uncertain terms, however, this is our current situation and the reality we have to deal with. I toured the borough again after my call to personally reassess our damages, and I have seen and spoken with the JCP&L crews on the ground here in New Providence. They are here and they are working so there is every reason to be hopeful. In the meantime, please check in on each other, on your neighbors, our seniors, and anyone you feel may need assistance. If you have an emergency please call 911. For non-urgent matters please call (908) 665-1111. Please avoid all downed power lines, and adhere to all barricades, barriers, and cones for your own safety. If you need to charge, our Recreation Gym located on Academy Street is open for you 9am-5pm to charge your devices. Please wear a mask and be sure to socially distance. We will continue to press JCP&L for progress, for information and estimates, and will continue to keep you updated as we receive confirmed information. Please also check to see that your Smart911 Alert system is updated. Please stay strong. We know this is beyond aggravating and share your frustration. We will get through this. Stay safe, keep strong, and be well.
-Mayor Al Morgan
Mayor Al asks for residents to please check in on neighbors, seniors, and anyone you feel may need help.
If an emergency please call 911. Non-urgent matters please call (908) 665-1111.
Avoid all downed power lines, and adhere to all barricades, barriers, and cones for your own safety. If venturing out, please proceed with extreme caution.
Electronics can be charged at Borough Hall in gym today (8/6) from 9 AM-5 PM. The only entrance open will be at Academy Street. COVID-19 precautions will be taken. Attendees will be screened for temperatures and symptoms. Masks and social distancing required. WiFi is not available at this time.
"We will continue to keep you updated as we receive confirmed information. Please also check to see that your Smart911 Alert system is updated. Please stay strong," said Morgan.