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Ridgewood, N.J. Residents Furious Over Unexpected PSE&G Project

Utility Company Plans To Replace Power Lines All Over Bergen County

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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Residents in one New Jersey neighborhood have told a power company “not in my neighborhood.” The outcry began when PSE&G began replacing 35-foot utility poles with poles that are twice as tall.

“I was not given any notice that they were putting 69,000-volt lines in my neighborhood,” Alyssa Steinberger told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan on Monday.

Residents told Sloan that the change came without warning.

“I came home from the gym and couldn’t get to my street,” Steinberger said. “My street was closed off and there were cones at the end of each street.”

A PSE&G spokesperson said that the company notified village officials in advance and blamed the mix-up on a miscommunication.

The village engineer said that police have been on hand to direct traffic and that PSE&G will hold an emergency meeting for residents on Wednesday.

The meeting and the village’s explanation may be too little too late for some residents.

“You know I have problems physically and have to get out of my house quick,” Brea O’Rourke said.

The project is part of a 12-mile upgrade that will run through several Bergen County towns to ensure reliable service and prevent blackouts. More than 70 poles will be replaced in Ridgewood, PSE&G  explained. In the past the standard was 26,000-volts, but a PSE&G spokesperson said that is changing.

“All over the country and world the 69,000-volt network is becoming the industry standard,” PSE&G said.

Residents remained angry about the surprise and about the length of the poles.

“If they need to be that high it must be extremely unsafe,” Steinberger said.

PSE&G argued that it is simply complying with industry standards and that higher voltage means higher poles,and added that Ridgewood residents have nothing to worry about.

More than 600 poles were also to be replaced in Paramus and Fair Lawn.

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