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'We're Slowly Making Progress,' JCP&L Rep Says

Utility company spokesman says most power should be restored by Wednesday.

It's understandable that people are frustrated about spending days without electricity in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. A Jersey Central Power and Light spokersperson said the company shares that feeling. But Chris Eck says the light at the tunnel's end is visible, and most restoration should be completed in six days.

"At this point, we can't exactly say when," Eck said. "We're still assessing the damage in some areas that we can't even get to. But we do hope to have most of our customers restored by next Wednesday."

He said there are a number of challenges that are keeping thousands of Parsippanians in the dark.

First, Eck said, is prioritization. Institutions dedicated to public safety simply must get first crack at having power restored.

"Among our priority restorations obviously are health care centers and emergency responders, police, fire, hospitals, dispatch centers and so forth," he said.

Next, JCP&L's 4,000 workers, which cover large swaths of northern and central New Jersey, have to work their way from those closest to power centers and out.

"We're working our way out from the high-voltage lines, so we've already restored 370,000 and we continue to work on those efforts every day while we repair transmission issues in other parts of the state," he said. 

He said the crews are working long days. Often, however, residents don't know this. Many have asked Patch why they have not seen JCP&L trucks in Parsippany.

"It's because we have to work our way out to where they are," he explained. "We work our way down the circuit; we're working upline from [Parsippany]. Just because they haven't seen trucks makes it seem like things aren't happening, but we're working 16-hour shifts around the clock every day."

And restoration is a complicated business.

Eck explained that electricity comes from power-generating plants to electrical high-voltage substations. Subtransmission lines send electricity from the substations to customers.

"From there, you may go through a number of substations before you get to the feeder line that goes to your specific area," he said, and offered an illustration. 

"Think of it as being like the interstate highway system," Eck said. "You have the interstates, and that's your high-voltage [substations], and then your subtransmission lines would be secondary roads, and then down into a feeder line would be a residential street or a smaller road.

"The farther you live from the interstate, the longer it takes you to get home. So the farther you live from the transmission line—not always, but generally—the more opportunity there is for damage between you and your power source."

Sandy created a lot of damage, and repairs simply take time. And then, there are the proliferation of downed trees, some which sat in roadways of the township with traffic cones or sawhorses for long periods of time blocking roads.

"That was a big problem," said Eck. "Just getting around was tough because so many trees were down across roads and so many wires down. We're slowly making progress in that area as municipalities are clearing trees and debris." 

It certainly shows in Parsippany. The township has gone from a high of about 22,000 without power to about 13,978 (as of 6 a.m. Friday). On Thursday, a significant number of JCP&L customers in Lake Hiawatha and Lake Parsippany again saw the light. That was evident in the large number of businesses along North Beverwyck and Parsippany roads that reopened their doors.

Eck said that is a good sign for nearby business and homes still without electricity.

"It's extremely difficult to give neighborhood estimates, but if we're looking at a circuit that already has a bunch of restoration on it, then it's relatively easy to predict that [work crews] are going to move in a particular direction and will get there in x amount of time," he said.

Of course, that is not guaranteed, he cautioned.

"I'm not a transmission expert; I can't tell you exactly how long it would take," Eck said. "Even with that they sometimes run into problems they didn't foresee and find they need to bring in more equipment or forestry crews to clear debris and so forth. 

"Nobody wants their power back on more than we do, but it's not possible to make your infrastructure hurricane-proof."

Astonished November 02, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Be glad you have a home that needs power... You selfish posters....most people south of us have no roof over their head and have lost EVERYTHING!!! Light a candle. Go to a warming station. If emergency arises, the responders will get to them. My GOD! Unbelievable!
Lisa November 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Is jcp&l planning on working through the weekend? This Saturday and Sunday, it's too cold for them to make residents wait until next week for power
Natalie Davis (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Chris Eck of JCP&L said they are working 'round the clock until everyone is restored.
Natalie Davis (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 02:33 PM
This just in: Water and ice provided by JCP&L for distribution at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy. It's available 7AM to 9PM. 500 West Hanover Avenue; Parsippany NJ 07054 For Map searches: use Morris Plains 07950 or 40.832821,-74.517973 For GPS: N 40 49.969 W 74 31.078 Written directions to the Academy: http://morrisacademy.org/directions.asp
Michael Wilson November 02, 2012 at 02:54 PM
"Astonished" - big talk from someone who is not willing to use their real name. We (at least I) get that this is a big storm, and it takes time to address everyone's power. I don't think it's too much for Danny H and the rest of Puddingstone to ask for the roads to be cleared. It's a matter of safety. I think the town could do a better job of working with the utilities to prioritize and communicate with residents. We are literally being left in the dark.
Selene November 02, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The Community church on Vail Road has a warming center and provides beverages as well? Not sure of the details but they have a large sign out front.
Natalie Davis (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Yes, Selene, we reported that yesterday, and thanks for reminding readers of the generous service the Community Life Chapel is providing the community.
Nancy November 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Intervals has been out since Mon too. There is a tree at the corner of our street being held up by the wires. If it falls we are trapped on Glenbrook and God forbid it falls on someone
Natalie Davis (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I'm passing all this info along to Mayor Barberio via email. Wishing you safety and good wishes...
Charles Jones November 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Willow brook mall is open. Food court as well. Drove past A few stations will long lines in Fairfield rt 46
richard November 02, 2012 at 06:21 PM
i live in edwards gardens apartments in parsippany....every apartment complex around me has power...and i still have not seen a jcpl truck around my area to begin work. there are no downed trees on any lines that i can see, i just don't understand. i know that crews are working around the clock to get this fixed and i totally appreciate that, its just incredibly frustrating to see your neighbors living comfortably with power while i sit freezing cold in my apartment. on top of that, the lines at the wawa around the corner for gas are so long, it is difficult to even get out of my apartment complex to go anywhere else. please help!!
Denise November 02, 2012 at 06:21 PM
How about getting the army generators to work the gas stations that have gas but no power!
Denise November 02, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Roof fell in lake hiawatha school does anyone check that for asbestos and mold?
clyde donovan November 02, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Natalie, please pass this along to the mayor and the police chief. The historical society in Mount Tabor is having a meeting for the people of Mount Tabor concerning how a historic district is being forced down their throats. The meeting is on Sun., Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. Half of Mount Tabor is without power and everyone is suffering the other stresses related to the storm. There is real chance of violence at this meeting when people understand how a few historical society members are bullying the rest of the residents.The mayor should be at this meeting, if he can't stop it. A strong police presence should be at the meeting to prevent the possibility of a civil disturbance.
Cheri C November 02, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I live in upper Dover near Randolph. Down town Dover has had power the entire time. So why can't JCP&L get power to the rest of the town???? There is an office right in Dover and I have not seen any trucks local. I have 2 young children that need heat and food. I don't make enough to take them out for a hot meal 2 times a day. They have been eating cereal with and without milk for too many days.
justme November 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM
has anyone gone to get ice from west hanover facility? is there really ice there? Don't want to waste gas.
Monica Sclafani November 02, 2012 at 07:50 PM
There is a downed tree on Sedgefield at the corner of Brentford in Parsippany, as well as many other trees that are down in that development. How can they get their power back if downed trees haven't even been taken care of? Whose job is that?
NewMommy November 02, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I have a newborn and couldn't take day 4 without power and heat. We packed up for 2 days and are currently staying with our friend. But, it's becoming too much for us to inconvenience them anymore. We feel bad to stay here until Nov 7th. Any word on restoring power at Hunting Ridge Townhomes on Rt. 46? We will most likely stay at a hotel if any available at this point....
mark November 03, 2012 at 11:22 AM
185 intervale rd ! Out of power for a week now! Where is jcpl? A week! No power , no heat! Seriously! I have 2 children 6/4 that are sleeping in winter coats ans snow boots! Progress you say? I haven't seen 1 truck yet? Progress where? We need to get this shit company out and get pseg in ! They make progress, jclp sits on there ass! There are 100s of people without power in mountain lakes, there's paying 20,000 in taxes ! If I were them I'd push for a new power company, more reliable faster response time! Pseg is the company. I lived in bergen county for yrs and had page, this company is the best. Never in 40 yrs was I without power for a week! JCPL HOW ABOUT WORKING ON INTERVALE ROAD IN PARSIPPANY! THERE ARE MANY CHILDREN FREEZING ! HOW SBOUT HETTING YOUR ACG TOGETHER A WEEK IS A JOKE AND WILL BE WRITTING A LETTER TO MY CONGRESSMAN TO REMOVE JCPL FOR IT IS A HORRIBLE ELECTRIC COMPANY THAT DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH STAFF TO TAKE CARE OF THIS AREA! PSEG BRING THEM IN!
mark November 03, 2012 at 11:31 AM
New mommy, jcpl don't care about you or your children. They don't care about huge gas lines they don't care about nothing. This is the worst power company I've ever had. For yrs I had pseg they respond immediately to any problems. Jcpl sits on there ass and is understaffed. We need to make change . Nobody should be without heat and electric . It is being unprepared that caused this situation. Understaffed. First energy (jcpl) needs to get there act together on intervale road . At our next tosn meeting I'm going to get a petition signed to get this crap understaffed company out and pseg in . Its rediculous and I feel for you. Intervale rd hasnt had power since monday night. We need to take action!
mark November 03, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Where oh were is jcpl! Oh were oh were can they beeee? Come out come out where ever you are? Lol Seriously intervale rd! No power for a week! Can you say JOKE! MY CHILDREN NEED HEAT! Understaffed power company during crisis. Pseg, restores power to 700,000 in less than a week. We can't get power on a single rd for 6 days now! Yes it is a joke! Get your act together then get pseg in as a good power company!
mehta November 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM
It's time to start the petition to remove, JCPL. from NJ.
Care Paws November 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Parsippany Lake this is the1st time they lost power!!!! 2 Days after Parsippany Troy hills area, (Smith Road, Westminster Drive, East Halsey area) and their power was restores within 3 days we are the first to lose power EVERY Storm and last to restore. How do they justify that?? Happy they have power but there is something wrong with this!! REALLY We have another storm coming with rain and no running sub pumps,...
Chet Zielinski November 04, 2012 at 01:28 AM
I live in lake Hiawatha and all around us there is power our grid which is about 350 to 500 homes have no power we have had problems since irene and the ice storm last year. It escalated Sept 8 when we were out for 7 hours and repeated about 2 weeks later for about 7 hours the problem is always the same place and guess what it's the same place again. We have complained to JCP&L and nothing has been done. I guess we don't matter JUST PAY THE BILL we have yet to see a truck working. Talk is cheap
Chet Zielinski November 04, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I think it is time for JCP&L to go, we need a utility that cares they just raise your rates and take goverment money (our taxes) for upgrades they never do.
Glenn November 04, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Total joke JCPL is. at least PSEG is efficient and gives its customers a definitive date for restoration....see below.... http://www.northjersey.com/sitealerts/Power_restoration_projections.html?scpromo=1
Diane Lavaia November 04, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Nice comment - As we all know there has been a tremendous amount of devastation thoughout NJ and NY - no one expects miracles. But we do expect emergency crews to review, plan and strategize the most needed areas where emergencies could be prevented. Your comment "If emergency arises, the responders will get to them" is the stupidest comment I've read in a long time. So tell me - who are you? do you have power? do you have elderly parents, relatives or friends staying with you during this crisis? You truly sound like a fool and should probably move to another town and annoy those people till they kick you out.
drew patel November 04, 2012 at 04:06 PM
JCPL are a bunch of inefficient liars. Its almost like 2 year olds are trying to fix our power problems. I don't blame the hard working people out there. A tleast they are working. The jokers at the top and the idiots responsible for communications are the ones to blame. The same general cover your ass message, that power will be restored by Nov 7th. Well Nov 7th will come in a few days and we'll see if the high tax paying residents of Par-Troy hills in mazda brook get power. Can make your infrastructure hurricane proof? how about improving your communications skills. Tell me who is getting power and when. Someone has to be held responsible for this.
Noemi November 04, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I live in Parsippany and have had no power still! I live in the Park Lake Village apratment complex on Baldwin Rd and half of my complex has not had power since last Monday. Power was restored to buisessness on N. Beverwick last Thursday 11/1, Baldwin Plaza never lost power and Route 46 buisnesses all have their power back but what about the regular homes and people. Our complex and some homes on Vail Rd still no power. This is ridiculous. I just moved to Parsippany and never have I experienced this with PSE&G through any storm. All the people I know that have PSE&G have had power since last Thursday!!!! What is going on JCPL? JCPL needs to go! I guess I will get power back just in time for the new storm coming only to lose power again. Thank you JCPL!!!!
Marsha G November 04, 2012 at 05:42 PM
The comments here calling for an ouster of JCP&L is right on point. They are a disgrace in their preparation and response to Sandy. They learned nothing from Irene or the Oct 2011 snow storm. Even the tone of their responses on social media pales next to PSE&G. I live in Puddingstone Heights. We are on a 1000 home grid. I cannot count the number of times we have lost power in the last few years. And the town of Parsippany, while they collect some of the highest taxes from our development, treats us like stepchildren...from garbage collection to intervening to get us help in clearing a dangerous downed tree and live wires trapping people...they have been a disaster themselves. There needs to be some very, very, serious PUBLIC hearings regarding the performance of JCP&L. when this is over. Do you hear us Gov. Christie????

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