Worried About Safety And Property Values, Westfield Residents Tell Utility To Come Back To Them With New Ideas

WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A power company says it’s time for a New Jersey town to upgrade its system, but residents are pushing back, saying the utility’s plan won’t work for their community.

CBS2’s Meg Baker was in Westfield on Thursday near Edison Intermediate School, where PSE&G is proposing upgrading the power poles and the voltage lines that run through the neighborhood.

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Westfield, New Jersey residents are not happy with the plan PSE&G has put in place to upgrade their power lines. (Photo: CBS2)

The utility says it’s necessary because New Jersey is facing ongoing challenges to the power grid as a result of climate change and more frequent damaging storms that are leaving Westfield customers in the dark.

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However, residents that spoke to CBS2’s Baker said PSE&G needs to get a different plan.

“We just moved to a street that’s going to be impacted by the transmission lines and we just feel strongly that these transmission lines don’t belong on our streets. They don’t belong in residential neighborhoods and they don’t belong in front of our schools,” Suzanne Welsh added.

“Our home values are going to plummet, so there are a lot of people that are on the line here. Cooler heads have to prevail and a safe, tenable solution has to be reached,” David Krieger said.

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Residents expressed their concerns at a town council meeting on Tuesday. Mayor Shelley Brindle said she and the council are aligned with residents, and is asking PSE&G to come up with a new plan. The power company said it’s willing to work with the community, but if the neighborhood wants more reliability, something has to be done.