Many may have no power until Tuesday, and this mayor is irate
JCP&L does not expect to have power restored to all its customers until Tuesday night as temperatures head back into the 80s over the weekend.
The effects of Tropical storm Isaias, with its heavy rain and dangerous wind gusts, are still apparent, with the fleet of utility bucket trucks and the buzz of chain saws across the state.
"Given the widespread damage, which includes a massive amount of downed trees, broken poles and downed spans of wire in order for our crews to safely clear hazards, make repairs and gets customers up and running, we're looking at late Tuesday," spokeswoman Christy Hajoway told New Jersey 101.5. The utility said much the same on its Facebook page.
The date could change to an earlier time as crews continue to work. Another 1,300 line workers will join JCP&L crews on Thursday.
"We'll be updating the times on an ongoing basis. Customers will be restored on an ongoing basis," Hajoway said.
PSE&G said in a statement it expects to have 85% of its customers restored by Friday night "but some difficult restorations may continue through the weekend — possibly into Monday."
Its 2,800 workers and another 1,700 from 15 states and Canada are working “as quickly and safely as possible" to make repairs.
PSE&G has set up customer comfort stations to pick up free ice and water in Lawrenceville, Lumberton, Newark, Paramus, Roselle and Willingboro. JCP&L announced grocery stores where customers can pick up free water and ice.
Weather could be a factor in restoration efforts, according to New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
"Storm cleanup and power restoration efforts may have to pause as our weather turned unsettled and soggy over the next two days. There are two concerns here: lightning, and localized pockets of heavy rain. Widespread wind is not expected from this storm system," Zarrow said.
As of 1:25 p.m. Thursday, the state's largest electric utilities were reporting the following outages with more than 500,000 customers without power:
Robbinsville mayor David Fried took to his Facebook page to express frustration over his meeting with JCP&L about when power would be restored in his Mercer County township.
“I just got off a 30-minute conference call with JCP&L for the regional mayors. Essentially the information I received is there was a storm. They have no estimated times of restoration yet. It allegedly will be coming out soon. This is what they have been telling us all day. I assumed obviously wrongly they would have some information for us on a scheduled 3 p.m. call with the mayors but to no avail. Why a company would schedule a call with mayors to tell us there was a storm and they have no information lets me know their political skills are on par with their ability to run a utility properly,” he wrote.
PSE&G, which also provides power to parts of the town, was able to offer a time frame, according to Fried.
Internet and cable service is also affected by power outages as they sometimes share the same utility poles or their remote facilities lose power.
Verizon said 98% of their network remains fully operational with backup generators in place at cell sites and switch facilities keeping equipment operational.
"Our network is performing very well, despite the significant loss of commercial power,” Verizon’s chief technology officer Kyle Malady said in a statement.
Xfinity said their crews follow in behind the power crews to make any necessary repairs as the priority is restoring electrical power. Common problems include a fiber line needing to be re-spliced or a drop to a house that has to be reconnected.
Ongoing cleanup of fallen branches, trees and wire affected NJ Transit for a second full day with the Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley Line, Main/Bergen County, Port Jervis and Pascack Valley running run on a weekend schedule. As clean up is complete tracks and equipment must be inspected before being put back into service, according to NJ Transit.
Nearly a dozen MVC offices remain closed following the tropical storm because power and outages have left them unable to process transactions.
Warnings about properly running gas generators and not touching live wires played out around the state on Wednesday.
South Brunswick Deputy Chief Jim Ryan told the Patch of South Brunswick a 61-year-old woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter were hospitalized on Tuesday for carbon monoxide poisoning when they ran their generator by a back door. It had been running for 8 hours and the fumes left them with difficulty breathing and feeling fatigued, Ryan told Patch.
The responding police officer heard the generator running and got both out of the house, Ryan told Patch. They were both hospitalized.
A man doing yard work in his River Vale yard after the tropical storm may have been electrocuted by a low-hanging wire over his lawn, police told NorthJersey.com. An autopsy by the Bergen County Medical Examiner's Office will determine the cause of death.