Update: Memorial Day Blackout Continues

Parts of Millburn Township went without power overnight; some areas are still, or newly, without power on Tuesday.

update: Tuesday, 5-29, 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m.,  8 p.m.

Businesses closed, students sweltered and some residents fumed as power went on and off -- and in some cases stayed off -- for the second day.

The power outages this afternoon in the Wyoming Section and downtown have been a purposeful shut down so that JCP&L can work on the problem at the central substation, company officials have reported to Mayor Sandy Haimoff. By 6 p.m. Tuesday, the company's website reported more than 1,000 customers (households) were without power and by 8 p.m., there were still 800 households without power, although the businesses that had been out of power in the afternoon were back up and running in the evening.

The mayor said JCP&L also told her that the outage downtown should not be much longer (only a couple of hours) because the company says it is bringing in a mobile substation to get power back on while the work on issues at the central station.

"I hate to tell people when they say they'll be back on -- people want estimates and I can understand that, but often it's not when they say they're going to be back and then people are upset," Haimoff said. "Understandably."

Joey Cioffi, who owns The Salad House on Millburn Avenue, said he was sweating it out, literally, through the lunch hour, when the inside of the restaurant felt like it was 98 degrees.

"I'm closing up shop here in a minute," he said. "We're doing everything we can do with ice but it's not enough. It's so out in here - it's a little like Hell."

Alvin Chen, who manages Haagen Dazs ice cream, said he was going to have to make a decision soon as to whether to shut down and move the ice cream to another store.

"We have to have electricity to freeze the ice cream," he said. "I hope this isn't a sign of things to come this summer."

Meanwhile, the students at the High School were also sweating it out in the dark, hot classrooms without power today.

"Literally spent our entire afternoon in the dark with no power sweating out the 90 degrees," said junior Max Sauberman, a Patch writer. "Worst day ever."

Superintendent Dr. James Crisfield said the district offices lost power around 10 a.m. and moved to the High School, which lost power around 11 a.m. and it's been a long hot, day for everyone.

"Everyone is safe and if you get near a window, you're fine," he said.

The Board of Ed is supposed to meet tonight but will not be able to meet at the Education Center if there's no power. Patch will update if the meeting gets moved or postponed.

At 5:30 p.m. JCP&L tweeted on Twitter: "Emergency repairs at Milliburn substation have resulted in outages in the area. We are working to complete repairs as quickly as possible."

Downtown Millburn Executive Director Lisa Hackett reported Tuesday afternoon that the ollowing businesses had no power or only half power:  Starbucks, Shala’s,  Gotham, La Cucina, La Strada, Dunkin Donuts, Oscar’s Deli, Osteria Mediterrania. The Salad House by Cioffi’s  and Dunkin Donuts closed for the afternoon, Flywheel closed but is re-opening.

On Memorial Day, the following businesses had power outages forcing them to close, she said: Gian Marco,  La Pergola, Bagel Chateau and Red Mango.

Also, on Memorial Day, the following businesses has outages but remained open:  Pizzeta, Coco, Martini’s,  Ms. Lin, La Strada, Oscar’s Deli and Bhakti Barn Yoga.

update, 1 p.m.: JCP&L has told township officials that all customers have been switched from the central substation to another and that power is back on - a good thing since at 10:30 a.m., it is already 85 degrees outside. The online JCP&L map, still shows 5 households without power in Millburn.

Mayor Sandy Haimoff said the trucks are all at the central substation in the center of town, where workers are trying to fix the problem there, but she has been told the power should be back on and stay on now.

However, she said, she takes what she gets from JCP&L with "a grain of salt." And readers are reporting various levels of power (see comments).

Probably the right move since power went out off and on this morning in downtown and nearby including the High School and a went all the way out little before 1 p.m.

Any residents or businesses without power should call JCP&L at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877). And let us know in comments.


More than 700 homes were without power in Millburn township around 8 p.m., mostly in the South Mountain and Wyoming neighborhoods.

Mayor Sandy Haimoff has contacted Jersey Central Power & Light several times tonight to find out what’s going on and reports that she has been told that there is problem at the central substation.

“They could not give me an estimate of when it will be fixed,” she said.

Some residents say they’ve been told it would be back by 10 p.m., and others said they were told hte power would be back on by 8 p.m. But at 8:45, the company’s website still showed 770 without power.

At 9:45, that number was down to 330 and JCP&L area manager Maria Sessa said the power outage would continue throughout the evening and she had been in contact with the mayor and the police.

Power went out around 6 p.m. for some residents in South Mountain and Wyoming areas. The lights flickered on and off for awhile and then went out.

“I’ve been getting nervous every time I see a storm cloud,” Haimoff said. “But you don’t expect it on a sunny day like today.”

Let us know if your power comes back in comments.

MLev May 29, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I agree, but this Nantz guy seems to jealous of something...
M.Moore May 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Wyoming school was also without power today, from about 12 onward. Of course, the school has no AC at all, except in a few rooms and it is always hot, even in the winter. 4 pm and still no power.
Nantz May 29, 2012 at 07:59 PM
That would be a negative, MLev. You have no clue.
MLev May 29, 2012 at 08:02 PM
It sure seems like everyone agrees with me that this power thing is a problem. I don't know who agrees with you. I have a clue, you didn't have AC back in the day. But times change and there is innovation.
Nantz May 29, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Consequences? Rut roh!!!
Bob Dobalina May 29, 2012 at 08:45 PM
JCP&L is incompetent and unsatisfactory. This is the problem with utilities - they can suck and customers have no choice. Milburn is at the far reaches of an Ohio based company's service area, one of the last to get power after Irene (when PSE&G served on adjacent streets never lost power). And Nantz, did you walk uphill both ways 10 miles in the snow to school? Spare us the pretentious comments, you sound like you work for JCP&L.
Nantz May 29, 2012 at 08:51 PM
@Bob Doobadabba - sounds like you are a little cranky. All I saying is that you are making a mountain out a molehill. I don't work for JCP&L however I know how irrational and out of touch Millburn Township residents are. Enjoy the weather, take a walk, go to the pool, get outside!
Nantz May 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
@Bob Doobadabba - the pollen count for trees, weed, and grass are moderate so you should go outside and enjoy this wonderful warm weather! Have a sprinkler party! Slip and slide! Good times @Bob Doobadabba!!!!
M OKeef May 29, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Laura, ? re Township Comm election as there are numerous comments above on the subject: Got the primary ballot today in the mail. I was surprised to see the Democrats are not running a candidate against Mayor Haimoff. Does this mean the election is unopposed and the Mayor is automatically re elected? Or can candidates still get on the ballot? And why is there so much coverage of school board elections yet this seems to have slipped under the radar?
P_R_PC May 29, 2012 at 09:38 PM
The loss of power, pre-summer, could be a blessing in disguise. I would gladly give up AC in the hopes that it would encourage residents in Millburn/Short Hills to stand up and demand a new mayor and a restructuring of the township committee. Their slow response in times of need and lack of relationships with utility companies should send a message, loud and clear, to our community that it's time for change.
P_R_PC May 29, 2012 at 09:39 PM
SandyoutinNOV May 29, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Write in vote for Dan Baer. He was the best Mayor we ever had.. Time for change..
SandyoutinNOV May 29, 2012 at 09:48 PM
And fire Tim Gordon, he is just as useless. I guess they are too busy paying MILLIONS for the Old Short Hills Park screwup to care about the rest of the town.
Bob Dobalina May 29, 2012 at 10:29 PM
@Nantz my point is that JCP&L's service and responsiveness fall far short of PSE&Gs service in Maplewood but Millburn residents don't have a choice. Of course we put things in perspective this is not Zimbabwe. But JCP&L pretty much blows.
Joanne Smythe May 30, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Nantz, there is no need for name calling. Absolutely unacceptable behavior, especially in a neighborhood community blog.
mdcen May 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM
What am I missing? What can the mayor do except keep us informed and try to put pressure on the company? I can go either way with her, but I just do not understand the anger for this issue. On a side note, is anyone else uncomfortable with the level of anger on these boards. We live in one of the best towns in the country. Things aren't perfect, but we have it pretty darn good!!!
P_R_PC May 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM
@mdcen - you're not missing anything. We do have it pretty darn good. And yes, there are moments when the anger levels in these boards gets too agressive. The point I'm trying to make with my comments....we have a reactionary mayor and reactionary township council who, from my perspective, feel like they are out of touch with the evolving needs of the town. Mayor Haimoff had the chance to "try to put pressure on the company" last fall when we had to deal with JCP&L during blackouts from hurricanes and October snow storms. She's had 7 months to build the relationship with JCP&L and protect our town. Our very first "warm" day and half the town is in a blackout. mdcen, talk to business owners in town, ask them how they feel about the mayor and the town council.
P_R_PC May 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I just went back and read the article about Mayor Haimoff's State of Township Address - if you get a chance, you should read it too. Also, take a look at the comments associated with the article. Article: http://millburn.patch.com/articles/x-cf96dad6 Take note of the end of the article - specially this section in reference to Mayor Haimoff's address: "Not only will the township continue to pressure JCP&L to that end, she said, it will also “be applying pressure to the Board of Public Utilities” to deal with JCP&L. “We will continue to learn from the past, work in the present and plan for the future,” she said."
Earl May 30, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Well I think its great that Nantz can remember the halcyon days of yesteryear when he had to walk 10 miles to school, uphill both ways over broken glass and he loved it but the point is that for most people who live in the 21st Century and don't hand crank the old victrola we have come to expect some level of service and consistency with what is a basic public service, electricity. Not only for the comfort and convenience but also because some of us need the power for our computers that we use for work or to make sure our very expensive food in the refrigerator and freezer don't spoil. I think at the very least we can expect of our do nothing Mayor is to get some type of pre-warning that the power is going to be cut so we can make alternative plans (as it was this time in the Wyoming section) or get realistic timelines. It really is absurd that one town away in any direction and the power grid remains on and relatively trouble-free yet since there is no competition and they have not been held accountable we are forced to live with a grossly subpar system. And as for you Nantz, I'll tell you what, during the next power outage I will bring over my rotting food so you can sit at the curb with it and enjoy the heat, and you can write me a check for its value.
Nantz May 30, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Earl the Pearl - I am talking 1980's and 90's. Not "halcyon days of yesterday". LOL. As far as what I will write the check for, I am sure it will cover a lot of cheese because there sure is a lot of whining coming from you! Poo!
Nantz May 30, 2012 at 01:21 PM
When did M/SH change from PSE&G to JCP&L?
Earl May 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Nantz, I'm not so sure those sweaty days at Millburn High served you well since judging from the frequency and tone of your comments you seem a little bitter and complacent, almost like you have come to accept what you are given and learned to live with it. However, I, like every other person on this board, feels I am entitled to a reasonable level of service after I have paid for that service. You are correct, I don't like living without power, being uncomfortable or watching my food spoil. You on the other hand find living without power acceptable and would rather not rock the boat confronting people who could make a difference but instead you anonymously pick fights on message boards with people who would rather try and correct something that is wrong. If I don't miss my guess you'll go far in life. Just don't speak up or try to make anything better. I expect to see big things out of you.
Laura Griffin May 30, 2012 at 02:02 PM
It's not that it's not on our radar. It's that really, there is not much of a race. As we reported last week, the Mayor is running again. http://patch.com/A-t2YG No one else - Republican or Democrat - has filed.
elsie May 30, 2012 at 03:14 PM
We moved to Wyoming late last summer and in less than a year, have had four outages long enough to spoil the food in our fridge. And every time, I look over to Maplewood and wonder why we can't switch to PSEG. If this outage was preplanned (per the Patch article), a robocall to affected households would at least have given us a chance to save the food this time. Instead I came to Patch to find the mayor commenting that "the power should be back on and stay on" at the same time the JCP&L website was showing 1100 affected Millburn households. (Still 418 as I write this, 12 hours later.) Not impressed by the mayor's rambling comments or her apparent inability to relay accurate information from JCP&L, let alone put pressure on them.
MLev May 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Nantz, how about YOU quit the whining. You seem to be arguing EVERYONE'S point! I don't know what has gotten into your head, but you don't have to argue with everyone. You are obviously jealous of something because whenever there is a comment about any nuisance, you refute it by essentially saying that it is not a problem. You are the immature one, you just won't quit, and calling Earl "Earl the Pearl" is just pure IMMATURE for an adult and at least is a high school graduate.
MLev May 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM
You are totally correct Earl. The heat seems like it is getting to him. Nantz is just making it worse.
MLev May 30, 2012 at 05:04 PM
This is not the place for a political discussion, this an article about power going out and the effects of it.
MLev May 30, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Please put the politics aside.
M.Moore May 30, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Before you blame the mayor for lack of notification, read the Item online article from yesterday which states that 1/2 of the customers without power yesterday at 1:30 were planned and that those people were notified by robocall. The other 1/2 lost power because of an outage that occurred because equipment failed when they were repairing the substation. http://www.northjersey.com/news/155375835_Power_outages_continue_throughout_Millburn_Township.html I find it surprising that people believe that the mayor of a small town can influence a large corporation whose main customer base is west of here. As much as people like to believe they are the center of the universe here in MSH, that is hardly the case. The CEO of First Energy could care less about MSH and pressure from the mayor of a town of 20,000 people far from his or her office in Ohio is hardly going to change that. I can and have faulted the mayor for communication issues, but not for failing to put pressure on JCP&L. The villain in this story is JCP&L and, short of switching to PSE&G, which I believe is difficult since the equipment is owned by JCP&L, I don't see our mayor being about to change anything.


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