WARREN, NJ - Township volunteers used a new Application (App) to inventory potentially hazardous tree and utility pole conditions and volunteers were spotted over the weekend taking photos of power lines and utility poles with smart phones loaded with the new App.

The hazard assessment was finished this past weekend. The Sept. 14 and 15 dates will not be needed. A total of 180 records representing about 220 hazards were recorded. A few main thoroughfares remain, but they should be completed this week.

In November 2012, the Township Committee established the Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) to assist in developing alternatives to reduce power outages in the event of future storms.  The UAC members include: George Lazo, Township Committee Liaison; Bob Morrison, Co-Chair; Judy Weiniger, Co-Chair; Mally Becker; Scott Bowen: Lisa Calicchio; Bill Dorf; Bob Gartenberg; Alex Khalil; Eric Lerner; and Valeria Mariano.  
 
The township officials will use the data collected by the volunteers to categorize and prioritize hazardous and critical situations they believe could jeopardize the delivery of safe and reliable utility service to the Township during future storms.  The township will provide the data to JCP&L and PSE&G for action.
 
The UAC developed the concept for the hazard inventory and related application as part of its efforts; they then reached out to local universities seeking partnership in developing the App. Dr. Janne Linqvist of Rutgers enthusiastically accepted the challenge and for the past several months has worked with the UAC on the design and testing of the App.
 
Township Committeeman George Lazo, who is the liaison to the UAC, also provided input on the App design, explaining, "The partnership between the UAC and Rutgers illustrates the commitment of concerned Warren residents taking steps to serve the community at large while helping drive accountability of the utility companies to be proactive in ensuring safe and reliable service." 
 
The UAC has worked closely with the Township Committee and Warren Township Police Department, Warren Township Engineering, and Warren Township Department of Public Works. "This collaboration is an excellent example of key stakeholders coming together for the benefit of many." At the request of the Utility Advisory Committee, a Rutgers professor and his students developed a smart-phone based application that will allow trained Township volunteers to map and inventory leaning utility poles, trees growing into distribution lines, and other hazardous conditions throughout Warren that could contribute to future storm-related power outages.
The township will provide the data to JCP&L and PSE&G for analysis, and to inform future vegetation and system management of the townships power infrastructure with the long-term goal of reducing future power outages.
 
“The application allows users to use a smart phone to photograph the hazard and the closest utility pole number corresponding to the hazard’s location, identify its GPS coordinates, and define the hazard type from a drop-down menu," explained Lindqvist, who has been working with the UAC and his students for the past several months on the design and testing of the App.
For any questions, contact the Utility Advisory Committee by emailing the UAC at this address:
utilityadvisorycommittee@warrennj.org.