After an unusual October snowstorm, many New Jersey residents lost power and some remained in the dark for days sparking criticism about state utilities. NJToday’s Mike Schneider spoke with Jersey Central Power & Light President Don Lynch about the company’s response.
Lynch said before the October snowstorm hit, JCP&L was preparing for an event similar to when Hurricane Irene affected the state in late August. He said during the October snowstorm, the company implemented new communication practices, including an outage website and daily conference calls with mayors and other officials. According to Lynch, 400,000 customers lost power after the snow, which he called “an unprecedented storm.” He said JCP&L was able to meet the targets set to restore power as were the other state utilities.
In response to criticism of the utility, Lynch said JCP&L had a “good, solid response” to the October snowstorm, pointing out the organization’s customers were fully restored the same day as those with PSE&G service. He said that staffing was not an issue in Hurricane Irene or the October snowstorm, pointing out that outside help is necessary whenever there are widespread outages. JCP&L has no plans for a rate increase and the utility hopes to implement a faster assessment process so it can communicate estimated lengths of outages more quickly, Lynch said. He also discussed the pros and cons of putting power lines underground.