Outages Expected to be Restored This Weekend, Locals Still in the Dark
Officials in Bernardsville and Bernards Township said they have had difficulty finding out when and where restoration is happening.
Jersey Central Power & Light announced on Friday that additional professionals and utility workers arriving in the state will return service by Saturday evening to the majority of customers who do not have power, including those who may have experienced new outages as a result of Wednesday's storm.
The announcement added that 168,000 customers within the state remained without power on Friday, even as about 100,000 had their power restored on Thursday.
Local officials said they lack information
In Bernards Township and Bernardsville, officials say they were frustrated by lack of specific information regarding power restoration.
"They can give us no specific information," Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine said at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday. He said he had been told that the borough should not expect to be fully restored by Sunday, a variation from information than what had been reportedly given to Mayor Lee Honecker.
The chief confirmed a report from a Round Top Road resident that the road still has several poles down along with no power. He said that the Twin Lakes area, Mount Harmony Road and Old Army Road were without power as of Friday afternoon, a dozen days after Hurricane Sandy struck.
In Bernards, Lord Stirling Village, Haas Road and northern sections of the township, including Old Army Road and Hardscrabble Road, remained without power, officials said. So did some pockets in The Hills.
Bernards Township officials, including Township Administrator Bruce McArthur said at a Friday morning update of emergency officials that there was a lack of information between the JCP&L and its contractors in the field.
The 5 p.m. update on the Bernards Township website said that JCP&L is "pushing for everything but isolated areas to be restored by midnight Sunday."
"We increased the number of crews to 200 who are working five circuits in the area," according to the afternoon's more specific communication sent to Bernards from JCP&L. The number of outages in Bernards was down to about 2,500 mid-day on Friday, according to JCP&L, down from about 6,600 a few days earlier.
The message from JCP&L, supposedly received at 4:41 p.m. on Friday, said that there was no good estimate as to when total restoration would take place in Bernards Township but, "rogress should be significant by end of day tomorrow [Saturday] as the additional resources hit the ground.
Bernards Township Schools, Board of Education and other facilities are in the system for restoration, the JCP&L message to the township said. "Depending on what circuit feeds which facility, they obviously won't be energized until the circuits are either repaired or rebuilt. Based on the circuit work accomplished so far, our system shows one of buildings has an ETR [estimated time of restoration] for tomorrow afternoon, according to JCP&L's Friday afternoon message.
The Friday statewide announcement from JCP&L said the parent company, FirstEnergy had brought in more than 14,500 professionals, outside contractors and utility workers to restore service to the state's JCP&L customers.
The statewide announcement from JCP&L, and spokesman Ron Morano, said the Sunday goal will not apply to customers where service wires to individual homes must be replaced.
"Devastated areas, mostly in the barrier islands where crews were not able to begin service restoration until recently, will extend into next week," according to that announcement.