NJ Residents Want Straight Answers From Utility Companies

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Imagine getting your power back on, only to lose it again.

That was the reality Thursday night for some people in Essex Fells, N.J. Their lights finally came back, only to be knocked out again by more downed trees, and they are not the only ones who are frustrated.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan was in New Providence Thursday where residents, who have been without power for six days, said they just want honest answers and are simply fed up by the lack of them.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

JCP&L said it hopes to have all customers back with power by Saturday and PSE&G said it plans for the same by Friday.

Check The Latest Outage Numbers: PSE&G | JCP&L

In New Providence, residents have been in the dark since Sunday and were venting their frustrations with JCP&L.

“When you find out PSE&G has 95, 96 percent of the customers up and we’re still here waiting for some company in Ohio with Jersey on their company name here in Jersey to get our power back,” a frustrated Dick Ritchie told Sloan.

However, some residents, like Evelyn Tartaglia, were willing to cut the utility crews some slack and even bring them banana bread.  She said the criticism was unfair.

“They’ve been working hard,” she said. “They can only do as much as they can do.”

Meanwhile, in Livingston residents said PSE&G hasn’t been honest when it comes to telling them when power will be restored to their neighborhood.

“If they told you in the beginning it won’t be until Friday, then you know it won’t be until Friday,” Ray Popkin said.

Across the street at a neighbor’s house, Ellen Maynard was furious after having to throw out many items from her refrigerator and freezer.

“We probably would have picked up and left,” she said.

A PSE&G spokesperson said the restoration process has been a struggle, especially in areas like Essex Fells, where another tree came down and tangled power lines.

“We try to keep our estimates as close as possible. We’re working areas at a time,” PSE&G manager Frank Hunter said. “We’re doing everything we possibly can to get it back as quickly as we can…took us a hundred years to build it and only eight or nine hours for snow to take it down.”

On its website Thursday morning, PSE&G said, “We appreciate your patience” as crews continue to work to restore power to its remaining customers.  Crews from around the country are in New Jersey to help restore power to the remaining customers.

In Hasbrouck Heights, crews have been removing loose limbs to prevent them from falling on any more power lines.

“I called in on Tuesday about some branches that were broken, they were hanging,” said Hasbrouck Heights resident Roger Piszel. “They said we’ll put you on a list. They came out a day later and cut them down.”

Many homeowners, like Bob Shapiro of Montclair, are spending their own money for a warm hotel room.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Ramsey

For those who do have power, next on the list is restoring cable service. Richard Reissig, who lives in Teaneck, said he was being told he wouldn’t get it back for at least the next few days.

“No television, no regular phone, no Internet so I have a WiFi connection to my next-door neighbor,” said Reissig.

Hospitals in New Jersey are also seeing more patients with snow removal-related injuries. Patients starting coming in to Englewood Hospital on Sunday.

“Has pretty much persisted through today,” said emergency medicine chief Dr. David Istvan.

There are the usual post-snow injuries from shoveling, slip and falls and car accidents.

“But, in addition to that, there were added hazards, if you will, out there, and that was really the downed trees,” Istvan told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney In Englewood

There are head injuries and cuts and bruises from branches falling on people.

“We actually saw a chain saw injury from somebody that was attempting to move a tree,” he said.

Istvan is advising folks to get help when cleaning up, if possible. He also said to check on elderly relatives or neighbors. He said an older lady with medical problems called for an emergency pickup because she didn’t want to be home alone in the dark.

Please share your thoughts below…

  • jhfdsjheruyrewfdsahjhj

    anyone who lost power should refuse to pay their electric bill and businesses should file class action lawsuits for lost merchandise and cost of lost business.

  • J Smith

    Words esacape me as to the ineptitude with which this is being handled

  • J Smith

    Even the executive office at PSE&G has no idea what their crews are doing. Very disturbing. Their crews may be facing angry mobs

  • Aquila729

    Ever notice that the one department (with all these power companies) that never seems to “fail” is the Billing and Accounting Department.

  • Meme Meyagi

    once i was passing by power lines in nj town. i noticed that on one block about 5 power poles were leaning about 30 degrees to the ground. i called 911 and explained the situation. a 911 woman told me that it is not emergency situation and hung up on me. i called again and this time a different 911 dispatcher transferred me to pse&g. i explained them the situation. and pse&g representative told me that she will send someone out to check it. well, a month later these poles were still leaning at 30% angle to the ground.

    • Totie Fields

      Good for you, @sswipe!

      • Meme Meyagi

        i hope you get electrocuted, and i am there to see it, fkn ho

  • Morris Bergen

    Why isn’t Chris Christie suing New York City to recover all of the state’s costs from the storm? WE suffered damage while the City didn’t, so they’re responsible for our damage. Plus, we’re the REAL Americans, and the best way to prove it is by taking THEIR money.

  • NYer in NJ

    Time to put the power lines underground!
    We call ourselves a first-world coutnry, yet we have third world, 19th century infrastructure. Go figure.

  • Schmellma Arss

    My, my, my, what a technologically-advanced society we are. We have achieved a speed of competency that is inversely proportional to the speed of light.

  • Suzanne Choo

    Residents at 15th St Fort Lee NJ still do not have power.

  • FedUp

    I think I will just withhold paying my bill for the amount of time it took to get my power restored. Wait I cant do that , as I will be fined and arrested. Hmmm…Wait, I know, I will sue PSEG and everybody else for that matter for emotional distress. My shytser lawyer recommended I do so. After all, its the American way.

  • susan

    I in East Rutherford. There is pocket of 50 homes without power now SIX days. Our power outage report has said wed 11:59pm all along, and midnight came and went and still no power.

    I am shocked and appalled at this restoration response.

    There is no competition for service, so they do not care. I called PSEG to inquire about a database mistake (their computers stated power was restored!) and the representative was extremely rude. She told me to basically too bad, deal with it, ma’am.

    I would say 3 days for this extensive of an outage is understandable. But close to a week? How is that acceptable?
    Is this a third world country? NO. We live 11 minutes from the biggest city in the world. This is not the boondocks by any stretch of the imagination. This was a predicted storm, and with predicted consequences.

    We keep getting emails from PSEG stating they are working around the clock. They hired extra crews. HIRE MORE! If PSEG can not afford to hire more crews, then they should ask the Governor or the President for aid.

    My anger does not end with PSEG.

    What is the mayor doing for our town? Why is the mayor himself still without power? Is he that weak and ineffectual that he can not pressure PSEG to hire more crews and get his residents rescued? This very mayor is up for re-election next week. Why did DPW not clear away branches on the streets to aid in this recovery effort? Are they just overpaid trashman? NO. Where are the police patrolling this pitch dark neighborhood? Nowhere to be seen. They assure us they are patrolling, but I have not seen one patrol car on our block..and I have been looking. If they position one car right under the blown transformer, that would be the perfect vantage point to monitor the entire affected pocket. What is being done for residents who have nowhere to go during these freezing nights? Where are the temporary shelters?

    Let’s continue. What is Governor Christie doing about this? His power was restored in one day, so he does’t care anymore. Where is the state aid to help PSEG hire more crews perhaps?

    Red Cross maybe? First the town was hit with devastating floods, now a week-long power outage. Where is the help? Anyone? The churches? Is ANYONE going to help?

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand restoring half a million customers is a daunting task, and obviously will take time. What I object to is that nothing at all was done locally to assist in that effort, and to provide relief for affected residents. And I object to the LENGTH of time the restoration is taking.

    The only thing positive through this whole ordeal is that our immediate community has come together to look in on each other, support each other, help each other in innumerable ways.

    For my husband and I, this is an inconvenience and a financial hardship, albeit minor ordeal. But for many, this is no small inconvenience. IT IS COLD. What about the elderly lady next door who is shivering in freezing conditions because she has nowhere to go (no hotels would take her cat)? What about the 2 pregnant ladies on my block? What about the 4 babies? What about the poor guy with multiple sclerosis? What about the unemployed guy down the block who can not afford to stay in a hotel? These are real people, and be assured, this is a real hardship.

    But noone cares. They have heat, they have hot water, they have cable tv, and who cares about a small pocket of 50 people forced to live in dangerous conditions for a week.

    Does anyone care about anything other than Kim Kardashian’s failed 2 month marriage? Anyone?

    • p8nt

      Hmm.. Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Irene, power outage from a fluke snowstorm. Floods in the midwest that wiped out entire towns… power outage from a fluke snowstorm. ….. YEP, we need the Red Cross!!!

    • p8nt

      wait wait wait.. add to that 3-4 inches of snow in East Rutherford… LMAO

    • understanding american

      wow you are good evidently where you come from the have public service magicians who blow the wires back onto the poles it is entirely your fault for not calling them here for your information its not so easy to remove a tree install a new pole and put in new wiring (3 levels of it in most places) all while not getting fried so suck it up or go out and help em (and get fried because its clear you dont know what it takes and yes i did lose power too)

      • p8nt

        Fry this, jurgoff.

  • p8nt

    So you people are blaming the power company for something a freak storm caused??? Unbelievable !!! I actually enjoyed not having power for a few days. For once, people are actually socializing with their neighbors, instead of being glued to the TV. As far as for the upkeep of trees near powerlines, your town is the one responsible for that, that’s why they have a Shade & Tree Commission.
    Some of you guys are expecting the power companies to fix all this mess in like a few hours, like all they have to do is snap their fingers and everything is back to normal.
    Its too cold and I have no heat…. PLLEEEAASSEE Go put some layers on, and a blanket!!! Go find a laundromat so you can do laundry !!

    • susan

      We are not blaming the power company for this. We are blaming the power company for their unacceptable recover response time.

      We do not expect it fixed in a few hours. We DO expect it fixed in a few days, not a week. A week is not acceptable response.

      I am glad you enjoyed being without power for a few days. Try a week. Stop being selfish and think of others. You are lucky that this has been fun for you. I myself am only minorly inconvenienced by this ordeal. What about the elderly lady next door shivering in last night’s THIRTY DEGREE TEMPS? What about the guy down the block with multiple sclerosis? What about the 3 pregnant ladies on my block? Or the unemployed guy that can’t afford a hotel? Think outside your own selfish self and have a little empathy for those who are struggling now.

      • p8nt

        I’m sorry for my so-called lack of empathy.. but I believe there are thousands of people in that situation living in Siberia, and the mountains of china, or even those who are homeless who manage to bear colder temperatures. Though, it is unfortunate that they have to endure this, complaining about it isn’t going to make things any better, though for some, it seems to be their coping mechanism

        • Shona from Jersey

          That’s a dumb comment – we are Americans… not in Siberia OR China! While they might be used to a freezing climate because they have adapted to their environment, the majority of us are spoiled by the American dream and are used to being comfortable. A few days, maybe but a whole week? NOT! Susan – I hope your power comes on soon and good luck to you and your neighbors.

          • p8nt

            I like your comment… LOL

  • Essex County

    Just want to say that I disagree with the “no trees near power lines” suggestion. Trees do lots of good, including filtering out thousands of hazardous wastes from the air and (thru photosynthesis) making sure we all have the air we need to breathe. In some neighborhoods there is virtually nowhere else to plant those trees and we need them!

  • Jay Silberner

    Do not believe PSE&G’s statistics. they lie! I live in the Pleasantdale section of West Orange. I do not know one house that has had its power restored. I have yet to see one utility truck in the entire area. And they can not or will not give you any updates.

  • Rugbyball

    I know it has it’s own issues and problems, but where I live there is no telephone/powerline poles. All power lines are run underground in into your basement below ground. This prevents any damage from falling trees and sagging from wet snow. I know this makes repairs when needed harder and more expensive to run new lines, but I have lived in this neighborhood for close to 30 years and only once the power company had to go into the manhole to repair a connection that had its insulation damaged and salt & water got into it and caused some power issues. So one power issue in 30 years of heavy snow, wind and falling trees is a pretty good record.

  • Morris Bergen

    The State and the utilities should bill all of their costs directly to New York City residents. WE suffered damage while they didn’t, so they’re responsible for our damage. Plus, we’re the REAL Americans, and the best way to prove it is by taking THEIR money.

  • dkfjgklsdetiureitjkdgklsdfugiweroutrioet

    PSE&G and jcp&L should take responsibility and cut back the trees from the power lines on a regular basis and NOTt alllow any trees that grow too big to be placed near power lines.

  • dsjhgsdfherutyhjfg345

    Im wating to see if business owners and anyone without power for an unacceptable time persiod that lost business, refrigerated items, and income files a class action lawuist against PSE&G and JCP&L.

    There was no reason why the power could not be restored within a reasonable amount of time in many areas. All they did was put you on hold and hang up when you called. No one could get through to the phone lines.
    The excuses that they were out and working and the stupid ads in the paper thanking you for your paitence are nothing but PR crap.

    PSE&G and jcp&L should take responsibility and cut back the trees from the power lines on a regular basis andt alllow any trees that grow too big to be placed near power lines. Homeowners and businesses with trees near power lines should be forced to cur them back on a regular basis or face heavy fines by the town they live in. If a town hired an iinspectors to regularly check trees around power lines and fined homeowners and businesses who fail to comply with the requirements of cutting back the trees, they would make extra money.
    NJ towns are always look for ways to make money and raise taxes – this would be a great source of income!

    NJ residents pay some of the highest taxes in the nation and this is an unacceptable response from the utilities

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