TRENTON – Governor Chris Christie held a conference call with Board of Public Utilities President Lee Solomon and executives from Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) and Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) today to ensure response operations and power restoration efforts were moving forward in a speedy manner to restore power as quickly as possible to New Jersey homes. Of the 750,000 impacted utility customers, over 300,000 have had their power restored already, and 95 percent or more of restorations are expected to be completed by the end of Thursday.
“The damage caused by this storm to utility infrastructure, primarily from downed branches and trees, is worse than that experienced during Hurricane Irene. Even as response efforts have restored power to over 300,000 utility customers, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans remain without power,” said Christie. “I spoke this morning with executives from PSEG and JCP&L for a personal briefing on the situation and to ensure that efforts to restore power to critical infrastructure and homes in our state are progressing is as timely and responsible a manner as possible. The challenges from this storm are significant, but it is our responsibility to ensure that the basic needs of our citizens are met through adverse weather conditions. As such, I’ve directed Commissioner Simpson to make Department of Transportation resources available to help the utility companies remove downed trees from county and local roads so we can restore power in every home as quickly as possible.”
Following the declaration of a state of emergency as a result of the weekend storm that included heavy snow and rain fall, high winds, downed trees and branches, road closures and power outages resulting from significant damage to utility infrastructure, Governor Christie will hold daily calls with utility officials to monitor the response and provide state assistance where possible until power is restored. Over 750,000 utility customers were impacted with power loss as a result of Saturday’s storm. As of this morning, response efforts have restored power to over 300,000 residents, while nearly 400,000 remain without power. The most severely impacted counties are Morris (92,000), Bergen (83,000), Essex (54,000) and Hunterdon (31,000).
“Following this morning’s call, I will continue to have daily conference calls with PSEG and JCP&L officials to receive the latest and best information on the utilities’ response, and to ensure that restoration efforts are meeting expectations as we move through the aftermath of the storm. While I urge those people still without power to have patience, I also want them to know that I will be advocating for them every single day until power is restored to every home,” said Christie.
Between PSEG and JCP&L, there are over 1200 crews from inside and outside of New Jersey on the roads dealing with removing downed trees and repairing lines. Officials from both utilities have confirmed that 95 percent of homes are expected to have power restored by the end of Thursday.
Moving forward, at its October board meeting the Board of Public Utilities authorized a comprehensive review of each utility’s planning and response to Hurricane Irene. BPU staff are evaluating the utilities’ response and will report back to the Board on potential measures to improve response and services delivery efforts in emergency situations.
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