PSE&G: 'We'll Do Everything We Can' To Stop Another Outage From Happening

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Something is taking all the air out of the holiday spirit in northern New Jersey, as electric power suddenly has become less than dependable.

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As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the first outage happened last month — a strange, sweeping blackout against the Jersey riverfront south of the George Washington Bridge. About 24,000 customers lost power in that incident, following a failure at the Bergen switching station in Ridgefield.

Another outage happened last Friday in towns along the Bergen-Hudson county line, and yet another happened Monday night – knocking out power to some 12,000 customers in Cliffside Park, Fairview, and North Bergen.

“You will see certain areas — a dark spot, you know, lights, no lights, lights, no lights,” said Bob Cerago of North Bergen. “It’s very strange.”

“What are they doing that the lights keep going out?” said Naida Agosto of North Bergen.

Residents said Tuesday that the trend is getting old.

“Yesterday I got home and the dog’s all in the dark, and now with the holidays, who knows if we’re going to have power or not?” said Maria Haro of North Bergen.

North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco said he was “not happy at all.”

Sacco said the Public Service Electric and Gas Company has been confused and uncertain in the face of the blackouts. He said it got worse before it got better on Monday night.

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“People are calling me asking me what’s going on, and I don’t have an answer because I don’t know what’s going on,” Sacco said.

Residents lay the blame on the power company.

“I make of it, PSE&G ain’t doing their job,” said Joe Grecco of North Bergen. “They need to update everything.”

There had been reports from Chopper 2 Monday evening of seeing a transformer explode before the outage. Late Tuesday, the utility blamed the last two outages on an update of a transmission line in Fairfield, N.J.

“These two are related; it was related to the work that we are doing at the switching station,” said PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson. “We’ll do everything we can to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

That explanation came late in the game for people in North Bergen, who now wonder if power outages are part of a new normal.

Mayor Sacco has asked for a face-to-face meeting with PSE&G officials.

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