Mayor: 'Get JCP&L Out of Wayne'

Chris Vergano writes letter to town residents urging them to sign online petition asking the Board of Public Utilities to revoke power utility's license to sell power to Wayne residents.

A little more than two weeks have passed since Superstorm Sandy barreled through the Township leaving in its wake more than 16,000 PSE&G and JCP&L customers without power and more than 700 downed trees. The morning after Sandy Township crews were out removing trees, opening roads and addressing problems that were under our jurisdiction. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the response from both of the utilities that service Wayne. 

Once we were able to get the attention of PSE&G, their response improved and they were able to begin restoring power four days after Sandy hit. By the middle of the second week power had been restored to almost all of PSE&G’s customers. PSE&G supplies power to approximately 87 percent of the Township and we believe that this is the reason they responded in a much quicker fashion than JCP&L did. 

Conversely, JCP&L supplies power to approximately 13 percent of the Township and it is our belief that this is the reason why the overwhelming majority of its customers were without power for 12 days.  My administration did everything in its power, including visiting the JCP&L headquarters in Morristown, to get JCP&L to start the restoration process but it wasn’t until I spoke with the President of the company that things started to happen.  This lack of response is unacceptable to us.  That people were without power for almost 12 days is inexcusable.  This is not the first time that we have experienced this lack of response and it is for that reason that we are exploring all options available to us to get JCP&L out of Wayne.

I have placed an online petition on the Township website and I am asking all of you to sign as soon as you can. The petition will be presented to the Board of Public Utilities as proof of our collective desire to remove JCP&L from Wayne. You can sign this petition by going to www.waynetownship.com.

Additionally, I am asking all of you to register for the Township’s “Emergency Notification Alert System.” This program allows us to send notifications via cell phone and email to those who register and is yet another way that we are able to keep you informed of emergent situations.  This service is free and you can sign up by going to the Township’s homepage.  Please help us help you by signing up for this service.

I would once again like to thank our volunteers for all of the help that they provided and our Township Employees who have not stopped since the beginning of the storm.  The last two weeks have been difficult for all of us.  The Township has and will continue to do whatever we can to return normalcy to our lives. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Christopher P. Vergano


Wayne Resident November 15, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Talk about whiners...you are the king.. or queen.
Joe videodummy November 15, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Reports estimated 106,000 trees fell during the hurricane, of those almost 80% were privately owned. Until 2 weeks ago it was cost prohibitive for the owners to remove the trees from they're properties, but most seemed very eager to have the mess cleaned up after they fell on power lines, that in turn took down phone poles, landed on homes and cluttered the streets through-out the entire state. Power companies lost a total of 2200 sub transmission plants at the height of the storm, this included main power plants in Kearney, Newark, Morristown which resulted in a near 100% total power black-out, and similar failures happened through-out all northern portions of our state, something that has never happened in modern day history. The petition may seem like the best avenue right now, but what happens if the power companies turn the tables and request that all privately owned trees within 75 feet of their power lines must be removed or cut-back in such a manner that they can't obstruct the cables if they fall ? And forget about moving the cables underground- the avg. cost is about a million per mile compared to the 385,000 to build them overhead. Not including the enormous cost for repair and maintenance, or the fact that they take longer to repair and restore power. Read your contract. The homeowner can be held liable for any obstruction resulting in a power loss due to negligence. Let's hope they don't sue us for the trees that fell on those cables.
Pad November 16, 2012 at 02:10 AM
All you have to do is drive down Garside Avenue and you will see branches, trees and other vegetation laying on and tangled in the wires. Even after the trees were trimmed they did a poor job. The utility companies should have an aggressive plan to cut limbs and branches that are over or tangled in power lines. They also need to replace a lot of transmission poles that have become weak over the years. Preventive maintenance would have helped cut the number of outages ten fold. But these utility companies defer tree cutting etc to raise their profit margins so they can all the top people can reap large bonuses each year. Yes, They should be held accountable for losses suffered by customers. When that happens you can be sure their maintenance and response to repair issues will improve.
Joe videodummy November 16, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Agreed. Our township also has to be proactive, and just as aggressive, to rid of the trees, limbs and other obstacles before they can be uprooted. Trees should never reach the point where they can tangle themselves in the power lines, especially the transmission lines. Garside is a good example, so is Black Oakridge on the other side of town. The list of trees needing to be felled would probably reach 300-400, but it would make better sense to confront our Utility Companies with a plan that supports a co operative effort to remove the trees instead of trying a lame approach of removing the power company. It's not like the Govenor can just step in and give power grids away to other companies every time a disgruntled Mayor sticks his head out the front door and realizes a major disaster is knocking. We need to convince our senior citizen homes that they need back up generators, and we need to have set backs and height restrictions on our trees, and raise the pole and wire heights for our main cables like they did on Valley Rd. If not for the well being of our residents, we should do it for our first responders, granting them safe passage during a storm or power outage. We should go this route instead of heading towards another frivilous lawsuit instigated by our township officals, which is where this seems to be heading.
Beth November 16, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Interesting comment by Scondo. If your power went back on in 2 days by JCPL why did they leave Pines Lake and not come back for 10 days to turn it on for the rest of the immediate neighborhood? The answer is because they are incompetent and mismanaged. I want them out of town.


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