Bernardsville Mayor Lee Honecker said at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday that JCP&L is saying that about 65 percent of borough customers had restored power as of that time, although pockets of areas continued to remain in the black.
But he said that the power company had said that 100 percent of the borough would be fully restored by this Saturday or Sunday.
He said he has been trying to work in cooperation with the power company. "You have to keep them in our town," he said. The mayor said he hopes that Wednesday night's predicted storm does not undo progress that has been made.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Far Hills Borough, where some residents have been fearful that power restoration could take weeks, Far Hills Police Chief Ken Hartman said officials have been told that 80 percent of the borough will have restored power by Saturday, Nov. 10. The remainder would be restored as soon as possible afterward, he said.
As of Wednesday, Hartman said that a few streets in the downtown borough had power, including the police station at 6 Prospect Street.
Hartman, as did other emergency officials, warned that residents should not go near downed wires that could be re-energized as power is restored in the area.
Hartman said bottled water is available to all, and showers are available. The borough municipal building will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily while needed, he said.
Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine said that the predicted coastal nor’easter is expected to affect the area from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, and might bring storm force wind gusts of 55 to 65 miles per hour. Such will affect our area beginning at 12:00 noon today on November 7th through November 8th.
Such winds can be expected to cause more trees to fall and possible further damage to the public utility infrastructure. "This nor’easter will have greater impact than usual because of the serious impacts from Coastal Storm Sandy," he said. The storm also could bring more than three inches of snow and possibly snow and sleet, he added.
The storm can create a dangerous situation given that much of Bernardsville is still without power, Valentine said. Downed power lines and low hanging wires may prevent certain roads from being plowed, causing limited vehicle access to some areas of the borough," he added.
Residents without power, heat or water at this time who possess physical impairments or have functional needs are strongly encouraged to seek shelter at the until this storm has passed. If you need transportation to the shelter call the police department at 908-766-0037.
"It is important to understand that Bernardsville emergency responders may have difficulty reaching all locations in the Borough with snow covered streets, fallen trees and high winds. Residents are urged to call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency, he said.
He added those needing emergency meals or water, can go to the shelter at Bernards High School in the lower gym to receive these items. Those who go to the shelter please bring their own blankets and pillows as supplies are limited. The Bernardsville Library is open as a warming center and community resource center until 10 p.m. Wednesday
Honecker issued the following letter to Bernardsville residents as of Wednesday afteroon:
"As of this past Saturday, JCPL’s website noted that 100 percent of Bernardsville was without power. Today, JCPL indicates that 35 percent of the borough is still without power. JCP&L has advised us to expect power to be out for seven to 10 days, from the October 30 [storm] except for devastated areas which includes parts of Bernardsville where it could take at least a week or more or longer. What is meant by "devastated," I do not know.
Power has been restored to the business district so gas, food and access to banks are no longer issues. The process is moving forward. Be assured, my position is that the crisis is not over until the last home in the borough gains power. I speak with JCP&L on a daily basis, and the state is also monitoring the progress being made
JCP&L reports there are currently over 50 power crews working in Bernardsville today. We have received information that 50 more are in route as we speak. Please be assured that borough officials are in contact with JCP&L everyday, but the information we receive at times is inadequate. We have requested street by street restoration information that has not been provided as of this time. We strongly encourage you to voice your complaints about JCP&L with the New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities by calling 1-800-624-0241 or 609-777-3300 at http://www.bpu.state.nj.us/bpu/assistance/complaints/inquiry.html.
I was recently advised of an incident where a resident drove under downed wires and got her car’s roof rack caught in them. The resident then got out of her car and physically removed the wires herself. Fortunately, the wires were not live, but it was an extremely stupid and dangerous thing to do. If you cannot drive under a wire, turn around and go back the way you came. JCP&L may be sporadically energizing the wires. I should not have to explain more. This is why we have not yet officially rescheduled Halloween.
Leaves and Brush
The Borough Landfill on Pill Hill Road will be open on Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.; and Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. for brush and leaves. Contractors must show a borough landfill card. Residents must show either a Borough landfill card or driver’s license. Curbside leaf pick up will resume Monday, Nov. 12. Please do not place leaves or brush in the roadway where it will interfere with snow plowing or vehicle traffic.
Finally, I am aware that there are still some residents not aware of our reverse 911 call system. Please spread the word. Tell friends and neighbors to access the police department’s website and have them sign up cell phones and emails as soon as possible if they have not done so.
Thank you, and stay safe.