Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ4) wrote to Board of Public Utilities (BPU) President Joseph Fiordalsio on Monday asking that the agency step-up its oversight of the beleaguered electric utility in the wake of its horrible communications and failure to restore power to its customers in a reasonable time frame following Tropical Storm Isiasis.
Smith noted that JCP&L’s failure occurred after a $1 billion infrastructure improvement investment following Super Storm Sandy.
He highlighted the fact that in addition to being without electricity, many of his constituents from the western portion of his district–residents of Manalapan, Millstone, Colts Neck, Wall Township and Upper Freehold–were also without fresh running water as they rely on electric powered well pumps.
Nearly every resident of Roosevelt, Millstone and Fair Haven lost power, Smith said. 90% of Fair Haven residents were still in the dark four days after the storm.
“Also frustrating to constituents is JCP&L’s lack of communication and failure to provide reasonable estimates for when power will be restored on a micro, town-by-town basis leaving many of its customers uninformed and unprepared.
“Some JCP&L customers have been told that they may not have their power fully restored until the “global restoration date” of Tuesday, August 11th at 11:30 pm–more than a week after the initial storm. This excessive length of time is unacceptable and is particularly frustrating in light of the recent billion-dollar infrastructure investment post-Superstorm Sandy. “
Smith asked that BPU “step-up its oversight of JCP&L to ensure that the utility has a viable, rapid-response plan that:
(a) identifies and overcomes ongoing weaknesses in its storm recovery program;
(b) anticipates and incorporates the sanitary and health needs throughout varying neighborhoods; and
(c) ultimately demonstrates it will be better prepared to address outages and quickly restore the quality of service which the people of New Jersey both pay for and deserve.
BPU is the State Agency that regulates public utilities. Fiordalsio has been a member of the Board since he was appointed by Governor Richard Codey in 2008. Governor Phil Murphy appointed him President of the Board in 2018 and re-nominated him in 2019. The State Senate confirmed the re-nomination on May 30, 2019.
Smith letter is embedded below:
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