JCP&L Customers Sue for Sandy Outages [POLL/AUDIO]
A lawsuit filed in New Jersey Superior Court attacked the "actions and inactions" of Jersey Central Power & Light during the superstorm.
The utility company's restoration efforts came under strong scrutiny during Irene last year, and those concerns were revived during the recent hit from Sandy. Some JCP&L customers did not have their service restored until early this week.
"There are a lot of people in New Jersey who died as a result of this," said Britt Simon, a plaintiff and the attorney who filed the suit. "The power company needs to do a better job."
The suit alleged misconduct, negligence, consumer fraud and breach of contract.
Simon said a consistent complaint from customers was lack of communication by JCP&L.
"They feel like they're getting stonewalled every time they call the power company. They can't get through to a human body," Simon said.
"These monopolistic public utilities have lost focus on providing services to the people they serve. Instead, they are blinded by profits, big executive salaries and greed. Our job is to put these animals in the cross hairs of the law."
Named plaintiffs in the complaint include residents and local business owners from Monmouth and Hunterdon counties.
A spokesman for the utility last night said JCP&L had not yet seen the complaint and could not comment, but he noted that Sandy was, by far, the worst storm in the history of JCP&L.
During a storm recovery briefing last week, Governor Chris Christie said JCP&L's performance improved since Irene. He added JCP&L is working with the toughest territory – the shore and heavily-wooded areas.
“They drew the short straw on this one,” Christie joked.