ROXBURY, NJ – (Updated 4 p.m.) Utility crews will try to work through tomorrow’s snowstorm to restore power to Roxbury residents still in the dark from Friday’s weather, said Roxbury Office of Emergency Management Director Robert Bob Hackett.
He said crews from both Jersey Central Power & Light and Public Service Electric & Gas are “diligently trying to restore power,” and will keep working through tomorrow’s expected snowstorm as long as winds remain below 35 mph.
The major focus of that work is on Shippenport Road in Landing, where nine utility poles – some owned by Verizon and some by JCP&L – toppled Friday night and left much of that region without power.
“The crews are working there since this morning,” Hackett said. “We had 15 power line trucks come there in a convoy. Those crews are from PSE&G. They came into the JCP&L area to work with the JCP&L crews … Some major work has to be done there. Everything has to be rebuilt.”
As of mid-morning, JCP&L said about 1,300 Roxbury residents remained without electricity.
Hackett remains optimistic that the businesses and customers affected by the Shippenport Road problem, including Orben Drive and Lake Rogerene, will see power restored tomorrow. However, JCP&L pushed from Wednesday to Thursday its estimate for full power restoration in Roxbury, a conservative approach that takes into account the possibility tomorrow’s storm will make repairs impossible.
"Crews worked all night + will work 24/7 until all customers are restored," the utility said on Twitter. "We know there are concerns about the impending storm. We're watching it closely & will hold crews to address any potential new outages."
It said more than 3,000 workers are engaged in restoration efforts and it noted it has set up staging areas that resemble "small cities" in Morris and Sussex counties "to handle the influx of outside workers and help make the restoration process more efficient."
In a statement this morning, The Morris County Office of Emergency Management did not sound optimistic. “We have concerns with regards to the current Wednesday forecast due to our current Morris County electrical outage issues, and the fact that many of our Morris County residents still remain without power,” it said. “At the time of this communication, 14,183 JCP&L customers in Morris County remain without power (down from 22,404 on Monday). County OEM officials spoke with members of the JCP&L team earlier this morning, and it does not appear that we will see a total resolution prior to the arrival of this next storm.”
The county OEM suggested that even JCP&L’s estimate of full power restoration before Friday might not be attainable. “The current total restoration time estimate provided by the JCP&L team is Thursday, March 8th at 11:30PM, however, we expect this estimate will likely change depending on the magnitude of the incoming storm,” said the county. “With each forecast update, we have increased confidence that we will be dealing with a major storm, with potential snowfall totals significantly increasing.”
Forecasters are predicting up to 20 inches of snow in higher elevations of Morris County.
Hackett is urging anybody without electricity to report it to JCP&L.
State of Emergency
Gov. Phil Murphy said he will be imposing a state of emergency beginning at 8 p.m. today. The announcement comes a day after Murphy was urged to do so by several North Jersey state legislators.
"We are particularly concerned w/ Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex and Warren counties," said the governor. He said the state Department of Transportation (DOT) "is ready to activate more than 207,000 tons of salt and 2,500 plows, spreaders, and loaders that can be deployed as needed across New Jersey."
Murphy said the New Jersey State Police has "activated the State Emergency Operations Center for round-the-clock operations, pulling together multiple departments to ensure that we are constantly monitoring critical situations," and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management "will ensure daily on-site coordination with statewide regional representatives and work with New Jersey National Guard as it responds to requests for assistance."