According to the procedures outlined by JCP&L and PSEG for restoring power after Hurricane Sandy, the highest priorities for service are police, hospitals and residential facilities for disabled residents and assisted care.
And Mayor Carolann Garafola is hoping to use that leverage to get more service restored in Warren.
"I've been reminding them that we have a number of such shelters in Warren," she said. Mayor Garafola and other area elected officials have been participating in 4 p.m. daily conference calls with the utility companies.
The residential facilities are spread throughout much of the township, with several clustered near the high school, as well as The Chelsea at Warren facility. The Brandywine Assisted Living center on Mountain Boulevard in Watchung could help residents in that area, as well.
Much still depends on the condition of power lines, transformers and power substations, which are being evaluated at this time. Mayor Garafola pointed out replacing transformers and repairing power lines must be done individually, which can take considerable time.
She said JCP&L reported having 4,000 people in New Jersey to do the work, in hopes of getting service back sooner than the seven days projected.
As of Wednesday afternoon, JCPL is reporting 5,243 in Warren without power, unchanged from earlier, while PSE&G is reporting between 1 and 500 without power.
Other updates residents need to know:
- The courthouse will be open as a warming and charging center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through the outage. Township officials are present to answer questions.
- Drinking water is available at the snack shop at the baseball fields behind the municipal complex on Bardy Road.
- Mayor Garafola warns residents driving around police barricades will result in harsh penalties, if caught. The barricades are primarily around downed power lines and pose dangers.
- DPW crews were able to clear debris from almost all roads. Roads closed remain closed because of downed power lines.
- Emergency communication is "stretched," according to OEM Coordinator Jane Asch. Only life-threatening emergencies should be reported to the 9-1-1 system; minimize unnecessary calls to police.
- Stonecrest Community Church is open as a warming center and possible overnight shelter, operated by Warren CERT members and the Red Cross. A limited number of cots are available; residents should bring pillows, toiletries, and blankets. The shelter has TV, games for kids, and food donated by local restaurants and grocery stores.
- Warren is requesting families cancel Halloween plans, due to safety concerns with downed wires.
- SAT testing scheduled for Saturday at WHRHS has been rescheduled for Nov. 17.