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Millburn To Explore All Power Utility Options

The Township Committee and residents voice their concerns about JCP&L after Superstorm Sandy.

Millburn officials will explore all power utility options because the lack of communication between the township and Jersey Central Power and Light, Mayor Sandra Haimoff said at Tuesday night's committee meeting. 

"We need to get all the towns in New Jersey that subscribe to JCP&L together to ask the state legislature, Senate and Assembly, to take action against the Board of Power and Utilities, First Energy and JCP&L," Haimoff said. 

During power restoration, the electric company assigned a contact person to provide the township with information after multiple complaints, the committee explained. However, the contact only provided little or inaccurate information, according to the mayor. 

"We were as frustrated as all of our residents who were calling Jersey Central Power and Light as there was no information that he could give us," Haimoff said.  "We need an electric company based in New Jersey, not in Ohio. We will be looking at any and and all possibilities."

To improve township communication, Millburn will launch its block captain program throughout town, where appointed residents report issues to township officials. According to the mayor, this program started successfully after tropical storm Irene for high flood areas in South Mountain neighborhoods.

"We have to help ourselves," Haimoff said.

After most were in the dark for nearly two week, residents voiced their issues with the power company to the committee.  

"I think that JCP&L knows exactly where they stand with what they have to do and what they don't have to do," one Millburn resident, Rod Shinners, said. "They're a corporation that's only interested in making money for its stock holders."

Some also offered suggestions the township could research to prevent extended power outages in the future.  Some ideas proposed were:

  • Underground power lines
  • A private power company, modeled after Madison 
  • Evaluating tree locations
  • Removing larger trees that may cause damage and planting a new tree
  • Become more liberal with tree trimming around power lines

A few other residents said the township's communication was also lacking during the storm. They requested for more information on road closures, debris clean up and possible shelter in town.

What do you think the committee should do after the township's most recent issues with JCP&L? Share your opinion in the comments below!

In September of last year, the mayor said she attended a closed hearing on JCP&L and suggested the following actions for better communication:

  1. A liaison should be assigned to the Essex County Emergency Operations.
  2. Once a line is de-energized, this information should be communicated to public safety officials in the town so that debris can be removed, streets re-opened and trees cut.
  3. Someone should be able to tell us which streets and/or houses are without power.
  4. There should be a regional municipal liaison so several municipalities could coordinate with this individual to identify the areas where lines were de-energized and where power was restored.
  5. Automated phone calls sent to customers when power is restored ask for a call back. A person without power may not even receive this call.
  6. Local officials should receive adequate information so they can respond intelligently to the numerous residents who reach out to them.
  7. There should be pre-storm planning.
  8. There should be communication and planning to prepare for the aftermath.
  9. We need a system by which each town can get immediate detailed and consistent information.
J S Beckerman November 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Did anyone address why Tim Gordon was AWOL during the storm and why he still has a job in Millburn?
OldShortHills November 21, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Trust me the Mayor is the one who should be out of a job
OldShortHills November 21, 2012 at 02:35 PM
What happened to Millburn's OEM program, they used to be so good?
J S Beckerman November 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Per the town website, the OEM program is run by Tim Gordon who needs to be fired.
Resident Since 86 November 21, 2012 at 05:48 PM
During the days and weeks following the storm, there was a great deal of discussion here on the Patch about issues that needed to be addressed and changes that needed to be made. I posted date and time information about last night's meeting on at least three occasions. So where were all of you?? Perhaps 15 residents turned out for the meeting. This sort of display of apathy is exactly what permits unacceptable systems to remain in place. If you do not get involved, then the next time a major problem occurs, don't complain in public forums. The time to raise your voice is now. Very, very disappointed. And, by the way, Tim Gordon arrived at the meeting exactly one hour late (at 9 pm), after Sandy Haimoff's long report and most of the public comment.
Poetsection November 21, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I called someone I know about the Mayor's comments and she lied. You need to get an expert to explain line by line the truth. One lie is what she said about shelters.
SH resident November 22, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Talked with a consultant who works for JCP&L and was told over all the companies he worked for in his entire career, JCP&L was the least active in communicating... would like to know what actions the major&com will take to get this addressed... in terms of Mr. Gordon, I hope he had some good explanation to the residents regarding his "disappearance" during the entire event and if not, then an explanation from the town is needed to address the intention of employment for such a position ... wasn't able to make to the meeting last night due to work but any info from the meeting would be greatly appreciated...
Yenta November 22, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Sorry but did not know the meeting was last night. Too bad we were not sent reverse 911 on this important occasion. I, for one, will sign up for emails of upcoming meetings, if possible.
JohnBerstein November 22, 2012 at 01:29 AM
You forget the Township Committee is a bunch of weak people who do and say whatever Tim Gordon says. They don't have the guts to ever question him. Gordon is untouchable and not accountable to anyone - end of story..
Resident Since 86 November 22, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Communicating here is of limited usefulness. For those of you not in attendance at the meeting, how do you intend to make your voices heard? Please don't assume that you can "outsource" the work to the few people who make the effort to get to public forums.
SH resident November 23, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Everyone - after reading about all these proposals and "responses" from the township, how do we know what actions they took? Is there anything we can do to enforce a strong follow through on these issues in addition to the week night township meetings (time not the most accessible to many who work in the city)? As many things are in life, without enforcement, action is a rare breed...
Short Hills Resident December 04, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I am so disappointed!! I Understood the meeting was cancelled because representatives from JCP&L were not going to be present.

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