New Jersey Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-District 21) said following a meeting in Bernards Township on Thursday that he is seeking to have the state Board of Public Utilities set up a procedure in which wires still left since Hurricane Sandy can be removed by more local officials in emergency situations.
Major roads, including sections of South Finley Avenue and South Maple Avenue still were blocked as a result of downed wires mid-day on Thursday, even after local road crews had removed trees where possible without disturbing the wires.
As it stands now, only the power company can test and remove the wires.
Bramnick said that one of the major issues that he and state Sen. Tom Kean (R-District 21) are working on right now is whether that requirement can be short circuited in emergencies.
Looking to the future, Bramnick said he will look into whether JCP&L can prepare for major storms by taking such steps as perhaps authorizing electricians who might be able to certify whether wires can be removed.
Bernards officials have pointed out that even roads that are open still have hazards caused by utility equipment. Bernards Police Capt. Edward Byrnes noted there is a broken utility pole is bent over a section of Mount Airy Road that is open, even while part of the road heading north at the Bernardsville Borough remains closed. That road would be closed "in normal circumstances," he said.
Streets in Bernardsville and Bernards had been completely blocked after the storm when wires entangled in trees were left for days before the wires were removed following Hurricane Sandy.
However, previously dead wires are now becoming re-energized as JCP&L is working in the area restoring power, Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine has warned local residents.