JCP&L Response to be Discussed at Next Bernards Committee Meeting
Mayor said residents have been weighing in through email, subject to be put on next meeting agenda.
The Bernards Township Committee is expected to discuss the subject of Jersey Central Power & Light's response after Hurricane Sandy at the committee's next scheduled meeting on Nov. 27.
Mayor Mary Pavlini said she will ask that the topic be put on the agenda that night — although the subject was sure to come up anyway.
"We will discuss how we want to proceed and move forward to deal with JCP&L," Pavlini said on Thursday night.
The mayor — who said she herself was without power for 14 days and was one of the township's last households to have power restored following the arrival of the hurricane on Oct. 29 — said a resident had emailed the township clerk that day asking how to file an opinion on JCP&L's performance.
"People need to voice their opinion," the mayor said. "People were frustrated and they have very strong feelings."
The state's legislators also will hold a meeting at the Bernards Township Library on Sunday, from 3 to 4 p.m. But Township Committeeman John Carpenter stressed that meeting is for information purpose in seeking recovery assistance, not a "gripe session."
Pavlini stressed that no decision or discussion has occurred yet on how to proceed with filing input on JCP&L's performance after Sandy since the Township Committee has not met since before the hurricane.
Pavlini added that she has been hearing from residents that other municipalities are starting efforts to revoke JCP&L's franchise in those towns. But she said she isn't sure how the state Board of Public Utilities, which regulates franchises for utilities in New Jersey, would respond to that suggestion.
And she noted that very strong winds had blown down numerous large trees in the area.
Pavlini said that township officials themselves were especially frustrated with communications between JCP&L's parent company, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp., and the crews on the streets that had been drawn in from multiple states. She said in some cases the home office was asking local officials to convey circuit numbers from individual locations.
A list of JCP&L's estimates for power restorations on individual streets didn't arrive until last weekend, Pavlini said, and that list included streets in Bernardsville. Bernardsville officials also have complained that JCP&L confused streets in the borough with roads in Bernards Township.
Further discussing the power restoration process, she noted that some of the hookups that have taken place to bring back power are temporary. Pavlini said she had that day run into crews from Alabama and New Mexico, but doesn't know how long such workers will be around working on restoring the local system.