To say that the utility companies have done an inadequate job of restoring service to the residents of Morris County would be a great understatement.
Are we angry? You bet we are!
But as your friends and neighbors, it is much more than that. Rather, we are sad, dismayed and frightened for our residents and those in other communities that have been impacted by the storm; especially those that have been displaced and forced to do without heat while combatting freezing temperatures and not being provided with any reliable answers to when their lives will be restored.
We are also frustrated about the lack of expedient and competent response by utility companies to our needs during this tragic storm event. Not being able to restore power within a few days is unacceptable. Not being able to restore power within 5–10 days is unconscionable.
Now we are learning that some residents may not have service restored until Thanksgiving. To us, that demonstrates an inability to meet the challenges faced by our residents during a major storm event and warrants a review to determine what needs to be done to avoid this kind of gap in service in the future.
To their credit, the utility companies did a better job of putting manpower on the ground than they did last year. However, it simply is not enough to meet the critical needs of our metropolitan area. Obviously, they are overwhelmed, but this does not justify the length of time it is taking to provide responsive solutions. While we acknowledge that the utility companies harbor no ill will or a lack of concern for their customers, the response to this storm and the ones preceding it demonstrates how unprepared they are when confronted with challenges outside of our normal comfort zone.
We live in extraordinarily tough times and these recent experiences shock us into realizing how vulnerable we are and how much we unwittingly rely on others to provide our basic needs. For these reasons, we are compelled to urge a re-examination of the process to ensure that this type of disconnect does not befall us again.
For those of you still without power, we have been in regular contact with the utility companies, participated in daily conference calls with Gov. Christie and members of his cabinet and the County Office of Emergency Management in an effort to be informed and to help our residents.
Lastly, we have repeatedly urged the restoration of power as quickly as possible, and to provide more accurate, timely information to the public.
God bless you all.
Ann Grossi, John Cesaro
Ann Grossi and John Cesaro are sitting members of the Morris County Select Board of Freeholders.