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NJ Residents Want Straight Answers From Utility Companies

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PSE&G worker fixes a power line (credit: CBS 2)

PSE&G worker fixes a power line (credit: CBS 2)

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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.

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