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Police, Mayor Bringing Pressure on Power Company

A tangle of downed lines on Mountain Avenue may be the key to restoring power to thousands in Warren.

At about 10 a.m. this morning, a supervisor from Jersey Central Power and Light got an earful from Warren Chief of Police Russell Leffert.

The chief was trying to get the company to commit to sending at least one repair crew to fix what may the key to restoring power in Warren's east side and Mountain Boulevard: a web of power lines, snapped utility poles and burned transformers hanging over Mountain Avenue, about 300 feet east of King George Road.

As he consulted a checklist on his pad, he gave the supervisor a work order number prepared by a crew he had tracked down yesterday. Noting he understands the problems around the state, Chief Leffert said the company's customers on the Jersey Shore, or in other areas, were no more important than the nearly 2,000 in Warren still without power.

And he wasn't the only official expressing frustration with the situation: Mayor Gary DiNardo, who has been providing water to residents with well systems not working because of the power outage, said he has been "really screaming" at state representatives about the lack of effort to repair the outages.

He said he was particularly frustrated at the effort put forth by the community, including using municipal resources to open an emergency shelter at Watchung Hills Regional, and "not one Jersey Central truck" could be found in town working.

He beseeched local Assembly offices to try and get JCP&L to be forthcoming on its repair plans.

"If they're coming, let us know they're coming so we can let residents know," he said, rather than letting everyone wonder.

And township officials are finding it difficult to keep residents up-to-date with information: residents without power aren't receiving reverse 911 calls or email blasts delivering updates. 

Residents can take showers at Watchung Hills Regional today, from noon to 4 p.m., as well as at both Somerset Hills YMCA locations.

Work on opening township roads continues, but is in many cases blocked by the presence of downed power lines. Until utility company crews can repair or remove the power lines, tree companies can't remove tree tangled in the lines.

The following roads remain closed:

Morning Glory Road between Route 22 and King George Road.

King George Road between Brookside and Hunters Trail; and between Ferguson Road and Mt. Horeb.

Helen Street is blocked by fallen trees.

DTup August 31, 2011 at 04:28 PM
Thanks to the Township and the Chief for putting this pressure on JCP&L. As one of the "less than 10 homes" that are both stranded on and without power on Helen Street, please ask JCP&L to address that issue at the same time. They were there last night and left us with no action whatsoever.
Michael Stapleton August 31, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Don't forget about the people on Liberty Corner Rd stuck with PSEG. Trees and pole still down blocking the road by Martinsville border.
DTup August 31, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Just a reminder to everyone - let's all go to the Township Committee on Sept 8. It's important that the community combine it's thoughts, experiences and concerns and present an aftermath plan to JCP&L to avoid this in the future. We're not far away from winter when this can happen all over again with ice storms, etc. There are trees in Warren - this should come as no shock to JCP&L - their response is extremely poor.
Heather Trumpore August 31, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Then to add to the insult today they closed King George Road at the Mt. Horeb intersection to work on the new traffic lights!
GG August 31, 2011 at 06:37 PM
The response to the power outage has been embarassing... Today is the first day I have seen a JCP
JP September 01, 2011 at 10:12 AM
Olsen Drive is blocked by downed lines and poles too.
dd September 01, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Is there action we can take to "send JCP&L a message"? If we change electric provider, do they lose profits?

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