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JCP&L's Sandy Response Criticized in Wayne

Officials hear more stories of how utility company failed to help residents in a timely manner after Tropical Storm Sandy.

Officials gathered more ammunition against Jersey Central Power & Light at a special meeting Monday.

The meeting was part of a series of steps the town is taking to oust JCP&L from providing power to its 3,000 Wayne customers.  PSE&G provides power to about 19,000 residents.

Officials know that it may be impossible to get JCP&L out of the township, but they want to at least try and see if the utility company can at least upgrade its equipment and infrastructure.

“They are taking your money every month, so they have an obligation to make sure your power doesn’t go out every time the wind blows,” said Mayor Chris Vergano.

Vergano and other town officials want to have the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) revoke JCP&L’s license to sell power in Wayne. They’ve created an online petition to support their cause. Exactly 1,800 people have signed it to date.

Residents told their tales of how JCP&L left them freezing in their homes for days on end following Tropical Storm Sandy earlier this year.

Vergano and township attorney Matthew Giacobbe listed to residents’ desires to get the utility company out of Wayne permanently. Several council members sat in the audience and listened to residents’ complaints.

“It was hell,” said Joseph Loffredo, a Verkade Drive resident. Loffredo slept under several blankets and with multiple pairs of socks on following what was deemed the worst storm in the state’s history. “Why can’t the governor force JCP&L to do something?”

Joe Colucci, a Wanda Avenue resident, said he had to wake up at 4 a.m. to start a fire in his wood-burning stove so his family would be warm while they ate breakfast.

Giacobbe said the township needs “a willing purchaser” to buy the equipment JCP&L uses to provide power if their license is revoked, something he admitted would be “difficult” to do.

Vergano said he received about 40 e-mails from people with other stories about how they were without power. He and Giacobbe plan to include as much information as possible in the complaint to the BPU.

Giacobbe said he plans to file the complaint with the BPU within the first two weeks of January.

JCP&L has reportedly asked the BPU for a $31.5-million rate hike following Sandy.

The proposed hike would mean the average residential customer would see his or her monthly bill rise by 1.4 percent, or $1.51 increase each month.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Judy G. December 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I would love to attend one of these. My boyfriend's father has kidney failure, gets dyalisis every other day, and uses a wheelchair to get around, most of the time he is bedridden. We froze for ten days at the house without generator, fire, or a kerosene heater to keep warm. My boyfriend and I were able to go to the library for warmth, but my boyfriend's father was unable to get warm.
YGBFKM December 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM
It's done, it's behind us, we survived.................Now CLEAN OUT THE RIVERS BEFORE THE NEXT REAL DISASTER!!!
Dory Degen December 18, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Our refund from Cablevision (Optimum) for no service for 12 days = $59.88 + emails of encouragement throughout the ordeal. Our refund for no service for 12 days from JCP&L = $18.09, plus NOT A WORD of support, tips on how to stay warm, NOTHING throughout. JCP&L just doesn't care. They suck!

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