Power Issue In Brick Township Heating Up [AUDIO]
While most Jersey Central Power and Light customers in Ocean and Monmouth Counties have been restored to full power, there is a section of Brick Township that remains in the dark today. It was an area that has hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy.
15 days later, the controversy over why the electric is off is brewing. Some have pointed fingers at the utility company while irate residents are looking at the leadership of the community as the problem.
According to JCP&L, they need to know which houses have compromised electrical systems due to rising flood waters. The boxes and meters inside and outside the homes could be damaged or destroyed by Mother Nature's wrath. Those will need to be pulled, repaired or replaced and inspected before the company can authorize the resumption of power.
Company spokesman Ron Morano tells Townsquare Media that "we have municipal inspectors and our own staff going house to house. Upon the completion of that process, we can restore the electric service if its deemed safe."
However, Mayor Steve Acropolis, who has been in the cross-hairs of several residents fed up about the loss of service for so long, is highly critical of the utility company and their claims. He can't understand why it took JCP&L so long to start the inspection process and is surprised they went to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to have them mandate the process.
He says, "This should have been done the day after the Hurricane. And what makes no sense is how they can turn the power back on for some homes without an inspection that have suffered severe damage and maybe worse. Something doesn't seem right at all."
JCP&L denies any claims that they are just trying to protect their bottom line. Acropolis feels "this is an example of a utility company that is putting their dollars before the safety of the townspeople. We will not stand for it."
It is imperative that property owners switch off their main breaker, on homes where the electrical system was damaged or flooded above outlets to reduce the risk of fire upon re-energizing the line. If inspectors determine that the electrical service is compromised, JCP&L will pull the meter. The reconnection procedure for those properties will be:
- A licensed electrician must service the panel
- An electrical inspector can verbally approve the meter set
- A cut in card must be faxed by the Township to the JCP&L, as per normal procedure
Once all homes in an area are inspected, the power will be turned back on by JCP&L.
Several residents have told the Mayor they plan to file a class action lawsuit against the company.