PSEG Addresses Issues in Essex and Passaic Counties
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 • 12:42pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - PSEG provided officials in Essex and Passaic Counties with an update on recovery efforts this morning. PSEG officials reiterated that they were dealing with an "unprededented" situation and that it was the "worst they've ever seen." They are following a protocol for towns to report emergencies and issues to the Essex County Office of Emergency Management, where they will be prioritized. Individual customers are reminded to contact PSEG at 800-436-7734. In New Jersey, 1.4 million residents were without power, and 500,00 residents have had power restored. In Essex County, 420,000 residents lost power, and 80,000 have been restored. 250 crews are out to fix and assess damage. The primary goal is to repair transmission infrastructures, like main plants and switching stations, first.
An immediate priority was the restoration of power to downtown Newark, which also experienced severe flooding in the Ironbound section. 8 to 10 foot water swells occurred. Sheriff Fontoura of the Essex County OEM discussed the flooding in Newark and advised that all Essex County Hospitals were up and running.
The Passaic County pumping station remained a concern.
Several questions were raised by elected officials in Montclair, Passaic, West Orange, Irvington, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Paterson and Maplewood.
Mayor Jackson of Montclair echoed the concerns of most officials in that the towns had their work crews working non stop but had yet to see much action on the PSEG end. He said that several trees with entangled live wires were still blocking roadways and could not be removed until PSEG acted. In Bloomfield, there are families trapped on Brook Place and cannot be evacuated due to live wires and downed trees. PSEG reiterated that they were addressed infrastructure issues first, and did not want residents to think that assessment wasn't being made in various towns. Several police stations are still without power.
Town officials also expressed frustration that their residents needed answers wanted to have an idea of what to expect. They indicated that they are concerned that school cannot open, there is no heat for senior centers, and food refrigeration was becoming an issue. PSEG said that they have restored power to 100,000 residents in Essex and Passaic County as of today. Unfortunately, due to the magnitude of the issues, the 7-10 day 'window' for assessment and repairs stands, with no guarantee of when individuals or townships can expect full restoration.
Residents can locate a PSEG location that is distributing water and ice at http://www.pseg.com/home/customerservice/outageinfo/supplies.jsp.
In closing comments, PSEG promised mobilization of crews into towns to assess issues and address downed trees and wires, as well as recruitment of additional out of state crews.