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Get Wires Out of Street, Area Officials Urge JCP&L

Wires that haven't been checked or removed hamper local cleanup efforts, officials say.

Untested wires, transformers and other electrical equipment still has been laying on streets and even state and county roads in Bernardsville and Basking Ridge, hampering cleanup efforts to clear streets and, in the borough, trapping some residents on impassable roads.

As of Wednesday night, Bernardsville Councilman Joe Rossi said some residents remained trapped in their homes, since trees and road debris have led to a situation where the road department or others cannot clear the roadways.

Resident injured removing tree

That also has led to a situation where some residents are trying to take the situation into their own hands, Rossi said. One borough resident was injured trying to remove a tree and had to be rescued with the borough's new all-terrain vehicle that was able to travel off road, he said.

"The most important thing when we have something like this is to have crews available to clear the trees or at least to have a licensed electrician available in to say what's live and what's not," Rossi said.

On Thursday morning, he said he had not seen work being performed on wires, and he said he believed any removed from the road had been removed by road crews trying to improve the situation.

Wires prevent trees from being removed in Bernards Township and Bernardsville

Earlier on Wednesday, Bernards Township Committeeman John Malay said that while power might take up to two weeks to restore in some places as

But with wires across or down on many Bernards streets, particularly in northern Basking Ridge, Malay said that having JCP&L remove wires and electrical equipment on streets or in falling trees should be as high a priority for the power company.

Emergency officials, including Bernards Township Administrator Bruce McArthur said that the township's department of public works can't remove trees until the wires are removed.

"We are working hard to clear the roads as best we can but many areas are still inaccessible at this time," Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine said on Wednesday night.

"We are working with JCP&L to clear trees that have power lines mixed with them," Valentine said.

Valentine added the police department is doing a street-to-street assessment of the borough in an attempt to identify residents with special needs.

"Residents are urged to conserve fuel (gasoline and diesel) as fuel is difficult to find at this time and may not be readily available to fill generators or vehicles," Valentine said.

Having roads blocked by wires means that even residents without special needs are inaccessible for emergency vehicles if they become ill or are injured, Rossi said.

Rossi said there is no excuse for JCP&L not to have arranged beforehand to have a certified employee in the area to at least test wires and make sure they could be safely removed.

"They should have been here before the storm," he said, noting that Sandy's arrival had been predicted and tracked well ahead of time.

On the third day after Sandy, right near the center of the borough, three transformers were laying at the side of Childs Road, although the large fallen tree blocking Somerset Hills Village had been removed.

But Rossi said that many county and even state roads remained littered with wires and trees, all of which create a hazard.

Rossi said that as far as he could see, JCP&L had not taken any precautionary measures. "There's no cones, no illuminated tape on the wires," he noted.

Rossi added he will complain to the county and the state for not keeping those roads passable. Route 202 also had wires on that state highway, he said. The road between Far Hills and Bernardsville reportedly remained blocked on Thursday.

As for JCP&L, Rossi said, "The power company should lose their license to operate in the state."

A JCP&L representative did not respond to an email on Thursday after for information.

Bunny Faber November 02, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Wow. The Patch always has the nastiest most ignorant comments. Not a very good community feeling here.
esther November 02, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Thomas, I agree with you. No one has any idea what JCP&L is dealing with as far as recovery goes. I know I do not. To tell you the truth I can't imagine having to deal with the amount of trees down, wires, poles, and outages. People are coming from all over the country to help. Just because they haven't gotten to your street MBrook doesn't mean they are not trying. 100 mile per hour winds are pretty devestating. I have children and we ate food heated on the BBQ and built a lot of memories. We laughed and reminisced and talked. Really talked by candle light. This can either be awful or a time to be cherished. I chose the latter, put on two sweaters, two pair of socks and two pair of sweats and laughed with my kids about how funny I looked. This will pass. Too bad in some ways. So many people had devastation-the stories from the shore are horrific. I am lucky and know it.
Coffee Gal November 02, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Hi I work at the Starbucks in Kings shopping plaza on morristown road, any word of and when power will be back? I'm not from the area..
esther November 02, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Teeluvsaruba Brava!!! Brava!!! I hadn't read your post when I posted mine above. But boy oh boy are you on point. How many of you complainers shared anything this week? I did. I shared ice, water, my fire, food, and most of all companionship. Did any of you complainers knock on a neighbor's door to see if they were okay? Needed anything? How about taking your children with you and modeling appropriate behavior in a crisis? Complaining is easy. Trying to change something one person at a time is the hard part. Whimper, cry, complain or Help, assist, give. HMMMM. Some of these JCP&L guys could use a nap, or some water, or a kind word. Like thank you for being out here. Or were they supposed to mass at the border of Jersey and Delaware and send the storm back the way it came? Or push it out to sea? No? They couldn't do that? Right so they are doing the next best thing- fixing and repairing. Thanks guys- I am learning a lot about my neighbors- quite frankly not pleased.
esther November 02, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Hi Bunny, Couldn't have said it better myself. Esther
esther November 02, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Is there power in the center of Basking Ridge? Any stores or banks or restaurants or churches or street lights with power? Am avoiding driving down there after sunset.
PB November 02, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Always someone having to be nasty on these things... Last year I met a nice utility worker from Missouri who drove 22 hours to get here and was working 16 hour days. Then he had to drive 45 minutes back to some cheap motel and got a shamefully small meal allowance to boot. He was afraid I was going to give him a hard time. Hardly. In fact he was happy for the work because he was about to be laid off with a bunch of other line workers. Customers and not the problem, management IS the problem. Too few workers, deferred maintenance (until Irene) and too little investment in infrastructure. We lose power three time a year when a fuse blows on a near by transformer.
MBrook November 02, 2012 at 05:23 AM
While I'm not sure some of the comments are directed squarely at me I still felt the need to address some of them. Contrary to what you think we don't own a mansion in this 'rich town. Our 3bedrm, 1bath is typical for my neighborhood. Our past experience with JCP&L last year when we were without power for 14 days is still fresh in our minds. It took my handmade sign & a pole worker from PA w/o a work order to fix outage. A recent experience with a downed wire lead to our block not having power for over 8 hrs. Time to fix issue constantly changed and when worker in truck was asked for an ETA he laughed & bragged about collecting OT. Please don't preach about reaching out to help neighbors, BBQs and QT with our kids. Isn't this built into our DNA? I think it's pretty ignorant to think otherwise. I'm not complaining when I'm simply pointing out issues, were the politicians in SI complaining this week or were they asking help from the aftermath because they were being ignored? The some of the many issue(s) are: the promised improved communication with us as we'll as our local officials, the progress PSE&G has made versus JCP&L (including last year's storms), why wait until Weds to assess damage when storm was passed us for the most part on early Tues. Fact: many local townships have & continue to look at the option of forcing out JCP&L. The multiple investigations into JCP&L by the state & NJ Board of Utilities. I've said my peace. Hope everyone is safe, warm and healthy.
NAOMI M November 02, 2012 at 08:55 AM
Thank you Ms Brooks, well said.
NAOMI M November 02, 2012 at 09:15 AM
I understand why people get upset. We got hit hard with this storm. It looks bad, yes. Everybody is, believe it or not, doing their job to get everything up and running. What surprised me most in this storm was that the people in Bernardsville seemed (at least to me) to be more willing to do things to help each other out. I ask that you be patient. I, myself just learned why JCP&L trucks don't just come straight to a neighborhood the day of a major storm. I didn't know they had to repair transmission lines & substations first. Take it easy on them. Their jobs aren't easy. We need them. Be grateful for what you have. The news stories of the devestation are aweful. We are terribly inconvenianced, yes, but we're still alive. & thanks Thomas, enough about the who's not doing their job. . really. Everybody's doing their best.
Deb November 02, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Hello I'm very sick with a respiratory illness . This isn't about being nasty or snark . I just need the power to come on in Crestmont Highlands up by the golf club . My animals and I have left but can't stay here (friends house) much longer . Parsippany got their power back the same day . Cable and phone with Cablevision. This has really taken a toll . Does anyone know if the power is on yet ?
Lisa Vigna November 02, 2012 at 11:48 AM
JCPL is disgusting. We are trapped. Ten families that can not get out nor get emergency help if needed. I have called to JCPL area manager and left him messages. They go unanswered. We need assistsncr here
Lisa Vigna November 02, 2012 at 11:50 AM
We need help on Parkview. Old people trapped
CT November 02, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I have no issues with the workers of JCP&L, I have spoken with many of them during past storms that left us in the dark for days on end, they hate the "leaders" of JCP&L as much as I do. The executives of JCP&L have shown total incompetence in their handling of this disaster as well as storms in the past few years. PSE&G shows the right way to deal, they get power back so much faster and communicate with their customers. JCP&L (First Energy) needs to be run out of this state. We deserve better.
CraiginNJ November 02, 2012 at 01:35 PM
1. Why are you reading B.R. Patch news if you just came here to vent your personal bigoted untrue prejudices? 2. Venting of gripes is justified by people who have tried to brave the gauntlet of fallen power lines (still there) and have seen firsthand *no* JCP&L trucks anywhere and *no* any progress toward survival resources like even 1 gas station within 10 miles and none within 25 miles that doesn't seem likely to run out of gas by the time the guy at the back of the line gets to the pump 1 to 4 hours later. Heck, even the 202 highway is still blocked because of JCP&L power lines on the road. With the exception of some people in the Hills development (which seems more of an extension of Bedminster than Basking Ridge), there's been no visible JCP&L progress here that I've seen nor heard of. 3. The issue is not the fine linemen and field engineers (including lots from distant states), so stop imagining that the gripes about JCP&L are against the work crews. The problem is the JCP&L managers and planners who seemed to sit on their work crews even after the bad weather had passed, surveying and planning instead getting people to work ASAP when it was obvious that they should've gotten that talent to work on *any* problem *anywhere* while they were doing their planning and who didn't seem to realize until too late how urgent it is to get gas stations powered in every township (w/ portable generators if necc) with passable roads to them for gas truck deliveries.
Nuria November 02, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I don't think anyone is targeting the hard workers but the the management of JCP&L obviously hasn't all wrong ... Just compare numbers with PSE&G .. Are their towns less affected? I don't think so, they are being a lot more officiant and no one is saying is because they work harder just smarter. In any case I don't understand why I cannot choose to be a customer of PSE&G I have to get stuck with JCP&L just because I'm in a different town. Posting how we feel give us a outlet, it does not mean we are not thinking about those who have it worst, only ignorant people would think that way.
xcrunner November 02, 2012 at 04:23 PM
This is pathetic and embarrassing for the community by the way you guys are talking. Get off the comments and help people. Many people need help, and many people are without food or water. Instead of bickering about something that is completely out of your control, do something worthwhile and good for the community. Show to your kids what its like to get involved and being a good citizen. These comments on the other hand don't do anyone good.
none November 03, 2012 at 01:10 AM
JCP&L should be kicked out of the state I agree I never had any outage with PSE&G in 15 years with many snow storms, but had three in two years with JCP&L
popeye November 03, 2012 at 01:23 AM
I know we are all frustrated, but while I also personaly live in the hills I find most of the community here very unfriendly. Even our board members where walking by assessing damage stopped near my home, I asked them how they where doing... a few more questions.. I simply got confused looks.. I felt like I was speaking another language. However - To the ignorant above, I'm a democrat, I am not rich. I work my butt off 7 days a week to live in a small home here in the hills. You have no right to judge me and shame on you for logging in to this chat room to dish out your insults. Every single one of you are sitting in your warm homes, well, don't you know (oh, this is sarcastic) we all would have gotten hotel rooms at the 4 seasons... we would never have complained, but right now, I'm at a friends house with my two children counting our blessings since we've no family in the area. I have two young children and I am concerned about being able to purchase gas and get to work, oh and then fix my home. My belief is anyone can achieve anything. I was a poor kid who bought a house. if there is a will there is a way, which is why I believe JCP & L sucked, they should have turned off power not let things blow up? WTF is that? Lets just wait to see what explodes then fix it... really? Way to go.. that didn't happen in NYC, they did something novel - THEY TURNED IT OFF after a few things blew up. Hang tight Hills peeps. Screw off everyone else & enjoy FOX news.
Mark November 03, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Coincidence that most of the towns that are being restored are all PSE&G serviced and we are stuck with these low balling incompetent boobs at JCP&l. If this does not teach whiny spoiled Americans that the government could care less about them I don't know what will. Self reliance folks only going to get worse if the anointed one is re elected
RR November 03, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Does anyone know if power has been restored to the Patriot Hills development yet?
Janice Corrado November 03, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Linda, can someone please come out to Parkview, off Route 202 just before Vine restaurant and photograph scene there? It is much more dangerous than the photos accompanying your article. This huge tree, entangled in power lines, has made the road impassable and has trapped 10 families -- including those with elderly members and very young children -- in their homes with no heat and no power. It is even difficult to negotiate on foot. Any help that you and Patch can provide in calling attention to this would be deeply appreciated.
J.Mackey November 03, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Let's be fair and acknowledge that JCP&L has a huge and complex task at hand to restore power to their service areas. Let's also acknowledge that relatively speaking BR has not been triaged as top priority by thepower company. Having said that, it is appalling how little information's available now five days into this ordeal. We are told by township officials that the reason we saw such little activity on the roads at first was that JCP&L was completing their "damage assessment". That sounds like a reasonable first step in determining their resource deployment. However, now that they have finished assessing, why can't they give us more information than vague generalities around power restoration. IF they now have a plan, they must know what neighborhoods are expected to be brought up when. maybe they are concerned about customer backlash that certain neighborhoods are being prioritized over others. So long as they communicate theirmpriorities in the context of the damage assessment I fail to see how this becomes a major issue. People need to make decisions and plan their lives. I, for one, would appreciate an honest, fact-based target date (even if it is a disappointing one) over the "one size fits all" generalities we are getting now. Finally, why doesn't JCP&L deploy communications emissaries to the various towns to deal with disaster recovery? Town officials need a "go to" person to liase with. Live and learn, JCP&L!
CraiginNJ November 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM
J.Mackey, To be fair JCP&L is *starting* to get their act together here. If you look at the updates published every few hours (from 9am to 9pm) here: http://bernards.org/community/Announcements/Default.aspx and look at the latest one, you can see that JCP&L does have "a plan" that, if it works out like they hope, will restore 41% of Bernards Twp. by tomorrow night. So it sounds like they finally do "have a plan" and we hope that what we see happen lives up to that. I assume I won't be in that 41%, but when I see them get there (tomorrow?) I will feel much better even if I don't feel any warmer yet. If that 41% includes more gas stations to keep my car warm and smartphone charged, at least I'll be able to cope for an extra couple of days.
popeye November 03, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Janice - Did u call someone? The police if the lame at JCP&L.
Sandra Smith November 03, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Block Powerlines dangling with 3 large trees blocking parkview ave and franklin drive . Ten families with small children unable to leave. We are off route 202. Please assist.
Sandra Smith November 03, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Our block Powerlines are dangling with 3 large trees blocking parkview ave and franklin drive . Ten families with small children unable to leave. We are off route 202. Please assist.
Linda Sadlouskos (Editor) November 03, 2012 at 03:26 PM
My latest info. is Bernardsville still 100 percent without power and could take a week to restore. Saw one van on Route 202 near Vine this morning. More to come. Is anyone helping stranded people yet? Shelter still open at Bernards High School.
EJ Weiner November 04, 2012 at 02:05 PM
According to JCP&L outage page, Bedminster is @ 47% - which would be down from 100% outage as of last night. Hard to believe. I live near Pluckemin & there was no power when I left my house @ 6:45 to get gas for my car.
Alexa A. November 04, 2012 at 07:26 PM
There was a very dangerous power surge near Juniper Way and Prospect yesterday afternoon - JCP&L say there are live wires producing heat that can't be located. When my mother spoke to JCP&L this morning they told her it could be at least another 7 days until power is restored, pay your bill and go to a shelter - what kind of a response is that!? When are we going to see the help that we need before something incredibly unfortunate happens??

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