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South Orange News

Created: November 7, 2012
Updated: November 9, 2012

PSE&G and Power Restoration Update

Update as of 5pm Friday, November 9th

As of Friday, there somewhere between 500-1000 homes without power in South Orange, out of the 30,000-40,000 PSE&G customers still powerless state-wide.  

Although the ETR for South Orange was Friday night, in a conversation between Village and PSE&G officials on Friday, they noted that because of the snowstorm this week, they expected that date to be pushed back to Saturday. Village officials have been forwarding all outage information sent to emergencymangement@southorange.org to PSE&G, and will continue to do so until the last resident's power is restored. Officials have noted that over the past several days, many areas of town have come back online, and that although progress is being made, we still encourage anyone to forward their information to PSE&G and to us, so we can follow up and ensure accountability in their restoration process.

Additionally, on Friday, the Village Administrator joined the Village President in his second meeting this week with other local, county and state officials in addition to the PSE&G President and government affairs personnel. President Torpey, as well as others, expressed their frustration at the lack of clear information being shared by PSE&G to local governments and the broader community, and will be asking the Board of Trustees to consider a resolution Monday night asking the State to examine PSE&G's information management, communication and emergency preparedness capabilities and ultimately either make recommendations or find legislative solutions to fix this process. 

Village officials will also be discussing other steps to take to mitigate potential for power outages in the future, including discussing the potential of village-wide tree-trimming programs, the possibility of relocating higher-risk utility poles to front yards or underground, continuing to improve the response efforts all around and discussing strategies with other municipal governments. The Village is also in the midst of upgrading a number of technology infrastructure components, including the website (and how emergency information is displayed and accessed on it) and what software we use to send emergency notifications to the community. Keep up to date at southorange.org on the latest news, and as we find more information about the restoration schedule we will continue to post it online.   

Village OEM wants to remind the community that the best way to receive information during emergencies is to be signed up for voice/text/email alerts from the Village, which you can signup for at southorange.org/alerts. Although we will be shortly upgrading this system, signing up now will transfer your registration to the new system. Because landline phones can go down during prolonged power outages, entering your mobile number and email address, as well as following South Orange on Twitter @SouthOrangeNJ (this is the first storm the South Orange Twitter was used for) ensures you will be able to receive all of the latest information. 

 

Wednesday November 7th

The Village understands the incredible frustration felt by each of you still awaiting the restoration of your power. Village officials have been in constant contact with PSE&G, many times a day, to receive updates and progress reports, to report continuing outages or outages that have erroneously been reported as restored, and to strongly advocate for our residents and restore our power as soon as possible. 

Despite those efforts, every local government is ultimately still entirely dependent on PSE&G both as to repairs and restorations, as well as for information, as many of our neighbors facing similar challenges are. We have enlisted the support of our elected State Representatives, Assemblywoman Jasey and Assemblyman McKeon, as well as Senator Codey, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Assemblyman Chivukula (Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Chair) and the Office of the Governor. Village officials have been in daily communication with these offices, and local officials in other towns with similar frustrations, who continue to advocate on our behalf. Wednesday morning the Village President met with Essex County mayors and state representatives and strongly voiced the complete frustration with what the Village views as totally unsatisfactory communication practices throughout this storm.  These concerns were expressed directly to Ralph LaRossa, CEO of PSE&G, in addition to the PSE&G government affairs representatives present. We are committed to pursuing these grievances with the Board of Public Utilities, which regulates PSE&G, through legislative channels as well as the Office of the Governor, to compel improvements to PSE&G's responsiveness and transparency.

In an effort to provide as much information as possible to our residents, we continue to publicize the PSE&G reports and restoration estimates and numbers to the community. However, we cannot vouch for the accuracy of these numbers and indeed have found many of them to be inaccurate or not up to date. As of Wednesday morning, the Village has been assured by PSE&G, which is confirmed as accurate, that individual line restorations have begun in South Orange and are told that restorations will be complete by Friday, though the Village cannot guarantee the accuracy of that timeline. We appreciate and ask for your continued feedback as to outages so we can hold PSE&G accountable for the restorations they report to us. Like you, we - and many other municipal officials we have been in contact with - are frustrated by what appears to be constantly moving targets and changing and inconsistent reports from PSE&G about restoration timelines and, as mentioned, we are taking all available action to hold PSE&G accountable and get power to SO residents as soon as possible. We will continue to post any updates and information received from PSE&G online here.

We appreciate all of your patience and the great spirit of community demonstrated in South Orange with neighbors helping neighbors, and will continue to advocate and fight for our residents until we feel our - and our neighbors in other municipalities - concerns are heard and action taken by PSE&G and the State of New Jersey to ensure this does not happen again.

Ensure you report your outage directly to PSE&G, and you can send any additional information to emergencymanagement@southorange.org

PSE&G's Thursday Workplan:

PSE&G's workplan as of Wednesday: