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JCP&L's Response 'Abysmal,' Freeholder Says

Caliguire says situation in Somerset County, specifically Bernards Township 'a tragedy waiting to happen.'

JCP&L's Response 'Abysmal,' Freeholder Says

If you are upset with the response utility companies have provided post-Hurricane Sandy, it appears you're not alone.

Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire criticized JCP&L's response to the storm in the northern part of the county, calling it "abysmal" in a press release issued on Tuesday.

The company's coverage area in Somerset County includes customers in Bernards, Bernardsville, Bedminster, Branchburg, Bridgewater, Far Hills, Green Brook, Hillsborough, Peapack-Gladstone, Warren and Watchung.

As of about 11:42 a.m. on Thursday, 10,894 customers were still listed as being without power in the county.

Caliguire particularly blasted the company for how it has addressed outages in Bernards Township, which has had extremely high outage numbers for more than a week compared to other towns. More than 4,500 customers were still listed as not having power in the township as of Thursday morning.

Bernards Township is in a crisis situation as a result of JCP&L’s incredibly poor response to a storm that occurred over a week ago,” said Caliguire, who is also the county's public health and safety liaison.  “We’ve been told there are still seven landlocked areas in Bernards Township, trapping dozens of homes and hundreds of men, women and children. These homes are completely inaccessible by fire trucks and ambulances. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.”

As of Wednesday, Bernards had the fifth largest number of outages for JCP&L customers in the state, and was the only one of the top five not located at the Jersey shore, according to the release.

“On top of its poor on-the-ground response, (Wednesday) JCP&L pulled its representative out of the county Emergency Operations Center,” Caliguire said. “This shows a disturbing disregard for the safety of our residents.”

Caliguire was up for reelection Tuesday's ballot. He led after the unofficial vote, but the results were still unknown, as provisional, email and fax votes still to be counted.

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