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Power Fully Restored in Ridgewood and Glen Rock

After many spent nearly two weeks in the dark, power has come back for residents. But questions still linger about PSE&G's management of the recovery.

After a recovery that lasted almost two weeks, drawing questions and often heated criticism of the utility company, PSE&G has fully restored power to Ridgewood and Glen Rock.

Frustration with the utility was evident in the public comments during Ridgewood’s Wednesday night Village Council meeting, where residents, many of whom still lacked electricity, voiced their concerns about the company’s credibility.

“I’ve lived here since 1994,” Sharon Maes, a North Pleasant resident, told the Council. “The first year I moved in it was a year we had one snowstorm after the other and I never, ever lost power. For years I never lost power. Every storm now my street is down.”

Village officials echoed their concerns.

“To me, really, on the communication side we’ve had so many problems,” Mayor Paul Aronsohn told one resident, citing the repeated failures of the utility to meet its own public estimates for power restoration.

The Saturday after the storm, PSE&G had announced through the governor’s office that power would be restored to Ridgewood by midnight that Sunday. The timetable was pushed back to Monday, but many still remained in the dark on Tuesday morning. Similar optimistic forecasts for Glen Rock fell short. “This misinformation has really made a difficult situation even more difficult,” Aronsohn added.

Residents who called PSE&G during the days after the storm probably heard an automated message assuring customers that most power would be restored by Friday, November 9. This promise, at least, appears to have been kept; it confirmed on its website Saturday morning that all but a small percentage of homes had been restored.

Glen Rock Mayor John van Keuren, who accompanied utility crews last week, confirmed that the last blocks in the borough were restored Friday evening. “If there were houses still without power, they were individual cases that required a lot of hands on attention,” he told Patch.

The PSE&G work schedule, available on its website, indicated that only one of these individual cases remained in each town. According to the schedule, crews were being assigned to address individual houses Sunday.

Still, officials cite the lack of communication with the utility for a slow reopening of streets and clearance of debris in the wake of the storm. Ridgewood’s Office of Emergency Management director, Jeremy Kleiman, reported that Village crews could not safely enter some areas because they could not determine from PSE&G which downed wires were still live. “PSE&G has not had one central point of accurate information nor have they made themselves readily available to us,” he said.

Given this necessity of cooperation between the company and municipalities for effective recovery, it is likely that these issues will linger even now that power has been restored. “After this is all over,” said Aronsohn, “we’re going to be doing a series of lessons learned exercised. Part of that is going to be bringing PSE&G in and having a dialogue with residents, asking and answering a lot of the questions that people have.”

Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Boyd Loving Said: The Mayor and Council should have released more funds that would have permitted the hiring of additional outside contractors to speed up the clean up. And if they did that you would have been the first and loudest person at the podium complaining about the taxes and runaway spending by the council. With your perspective on things the Council is damned if they do and dammed if they dont. Sorry Mr. Loving I will not drink or even sip your KOOL-AID on this one.
RB November 12, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I think Mr. loving should run for the Village Council. He has an answer and a solution for everything. People that bitch and moan just for the heck of it don't have much credibility. If you have all this free time to ambulance chase and take pictures all around town, put it to good use and volunteer and run for the council, or BOE.
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 02:32 AM
My point is that our Mayor and Council seem find money to spend on certain projects, but when a crisis occurs, all of a sudden they cry "we have no money." Perhaps Mr. Aronsohn and his team should run the Village budget like most of us run our household budgets. When money is needed at home for an emergency (e.g., hurricane repairs), less money is available for vacationing. Instead, the Village seems to skimp on spending money during times of crisis, while still pushing forward with expensive projects that could be postponed, or cut back in scope (e.g., Graydon ramp and Rolls Royce radio communications upgrade).
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I did run for the Council during a previous election and lost. And what business is it of yours how I choose to spend my free time? It is my constitutional right to take photos of anything that is within the public view. Why does that bother you?
Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Boyd Loving Said: Perhaps Mr. Aronsohn and his team should run the Village budget like most of us run our household budgets. When money is needed at home for an emergency (e.g., hurricane repairs), less money is available for vacationing. Ok Mr. Loving, please explain to me how the ADA ramp at Graydon, which is required by Federal law, and the radio upgrades that were mandated by the Federal Government (Narrow banding) fall into your catagory of vacation. I would love to get your insight.
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 02:48 AM
A ramp at Graydon is not required by Federal Law. Federal Law requires that a method of access be provided to the handicapped. The Federal Law does not require a ramp to be built. Narrow banding is required by new FCC rules. However, a complete change to a digital mode of communications is not required, but the Village spent money on it anyway.
Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Ok Mr. Loving, lets deal with this one issue at a time. Please read the following document. http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/cehsweb/adapools.shtml#swimming It states Pool type - Swimming (300 or more linear feet of pool wall) - *Primary means must be by sloped entry or lift, secondary means can be any of the permitted types. So please explain to me how Graydon Pool does not have 300 or more linear feet of pool wall or why you think a disabled resident should not be provided access to a pool funded by taxpayers?
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 03:22 AM
I neither wrote specifically, nor implied, that taxpayers should not fund a method for the disabled to access Graydon Pool, so don't even go there. "Sloped entry" does not equate exclusively to a concrete ramp (portable/removable ramps may be an option and were considered, but rejected, by Village Council members even though this method is used by other sand bottomed pools in our area). And as you've indicated, "lifts" are an alternative (I believe the Council also discussed and rejected this option).
Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Mr. Loving, I admit you provided a fair rejoinder on my question of taxpayers providing access to disabled residents. As far as the access to graydon it's hard to argue that a concrete ramp doesn't make the most sense. Portable devices can be damaged when moved not to mention the cost to the Village if someone gets hurt moving the portable ramp. Electric hydraulic lifts are an option but they can fail, requiring repairs, and they will always require annual maintenance. Rusting of the components on these lifts is reported to be a maintenance issue eah year. Over the long term the concrete ramp will most likely be the most cost effective. I believe the council made the correct decision in this matter and I believe your statement above "A ramp at Graydon is not required by Federal Law." is not completely accurate since under the law either a lift or a ramp is required by the law for Graydon.
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Access to Graydon for the disabled is required by Federal Law, and the costs for such access should be the burden of taxpayers. However, I disagree that the Council's choice of a concrete ramp was the right decision. Crestwood Lake in Allendale, a sand bottomed pool very similar to Graydon, uses Mobi-Mats, and is fully ADA compliant. Why was this more economical plan rejected by Ridgewood's Council? http://www.northjersey.com/recreation/125908738_Grant_money_to_fund_purchase_of_more_Mobi-Mats_.html
Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Mr. Loving, Please refer to the website again.... http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/cehsweb/adapools.shtml#swimming and point out to me where in the regulation it states that Mobi-Mats may be used in place of the required primary access by a lift or a ramp. I have read the entire regulation and I sure can't find it.
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Mr Loving I do greatly admire the fact that you do not hide behind anonymity and are confident enough to speak your mind. I believe the biggest issue was the lack of power and the timeliness of it being restored. The Village's work from what I saw about town was done in a timely fashion. However PSE&G did not get the crews there fast enough to restore the power and that is their responsibility. Case in point Lincoln Ave and Goffle Rd. Trees were removed but PSE&G didn't show up for two to three days later. I would be interested in hearing from other areas of town to see if this was the case elsewhere.
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Crestwood Lake maintains that they are fully ADA compliant. I'm not an attorney, so reading the State of NJ legal jargon would be an exercise in futility for me. Perhaps someone who is closer to the whole ADA situation at Graydon would be so kind as to offer an opinion?
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 04:14 AM
As for picking up the debris I don't see that as an emergency and I am sure the village workers deserve some time off to take care of their own personal storm related issues. I know they worked extremely long hours during a historical storm event
Boyd A. Loving November 12, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Agreed, power was not restored as fast as we would have liked (my residence was off the electric grid for 10 full days). Frankly, it appears as though electric utilities throughout the region, not just PSE&G, were caught off guard as the severity of storm damage was much greater than what was anticipated. As soon as reality set in, crews from around the country were summoned, however the travel time involved in getting those crews to NJ was a significant contributing factor to the delayed restoration of service. The crew that restored power on my street was from Mississippi. Even though the Village itself took many steps in preparation for the storm, I think we too were caught somewhat off guard. I remain disappointed that funds were not made available to hire more contractors to assist with the cleanup. I'm also disappointed, but not surprised, that the rhetoric from Village Hall suggests no mistakes were made on the part of the Village. Attention was directed on PSE&G, and away from everything else.
Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Mr. Loving, The following taken from the regulation...... Types of Accessible Means of Entry into the Water •Sloped entries must extend to a depth between 24 inches minimum and 30 inches maximum below the stationary water level. •Sloped entries must have handrails on both sides regardless of the slope. Mobi-Mats can NOT be used as a Primary means of entry into a body of water since they do not have the required handrails, they can however be used as a secondary means of entry into a body of water.
News Man November 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM
This has been the worse conversation on power restoration we have ever had. It should have been more restrained .... Particularly on this Veteran's Holiday and many families remember their lost ones. Shame on most of you.
I live here too November 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I had a tree from my property fall and block half the street. When the wind stopped the RW Police arrived with chain saws and did what they had to including towing large branches out of the way with a police vehicle to clear the street so cars could pass. I would say that is taking money from the vacation fund and applying it where it was better used. I lost power for 7 days and I have no complaints. Some people will always complain and the internet is the perfect place for them because in here there's always someone to listen. Mr, Loving at some point if you decide to run again for council you will need to reevaluate why in the past you were not the popular vote. I think this is all fuel for you.
Long Time Resident November 12, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Dom, I think your a little confused. On Veterans day we honor those who served and returned home. In May we have memorial day where we remember those who died defending our country and way of life. I hope that clears up any confusion you had on Veterans day.
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 01:11 PM
improvements when storms like this hit we either hire more employees or live with the inconveniences of a major storm like a hurricane.
Oliver Train November 12, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I think a storm like this shows very clearly why having a fixed number of full-time employees is not the most efficient use of manpower, equipment, or funding. In my opinion, the Village should maintain a stable of local companies that can respond to "on-time" things like this storm. Hiring more full-time Village employees adds to the payroll permanently, not just only when needed. This also applies to annual leaf collection - hire temporary workers (and their equipment) for the month or two of the leaf season. Essentially, that's what PSE&G does - they have what they need for the normal times, but also have the ability to have other crews come in and help out when necessary. True, there probably weren't enough extras this time around, and the coordination could have been better...hopefully lessons learned for next time. And, I still really don't understand why main lines don't get buried when they come down instead of strung back up again, but that's another issue.
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 03:07 PM
James the first part of my comment seems to not have been posted any chance they are in cyberspace?
Ridgewooder November 12, 2012 at 03:57 PM
PSE&G's response was pathetic. When I logged onto my account after 7 days of no power, their website stated that have no knowledge of any outage in my area. Really? Don't even get me started on the idiots at Verizon who keep sending people who can't fix the line problems and then send more people who can't fix the line problem...
Ridgewooder November 12, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I agree 100%. You left out town owned tree TRUNKS, too.
Brian November 12, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I thought the crews couldnt touch the trees until PSE&G cleared them as turned off. I am really unsure exactly how much more the Village could have done.
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Mr Loving, Let me share my experiences in my occupation to see if I can illustrate my point. A fire department responds to a fire in a house. They rescue the citizens and extinguish the fire keeping the loss to the house minimal. While they are doing this they are comunicating what they are doing effectively and trying to find them a place to stay while the house is being restored. Firefighters after putting the fire out take a break outside to catch their breath and get fluids. The house still needs to be cleared out of all the fire damaged debris and to salvage important documents and precious items. During this time I have never had a citizen criticise the firefighters for taking a break, never. We have what is called the priorities of incident command. Life safety, stablize the incident, effectively communicate and property conservation. These priorities are not confined to just fire departments but should be used by the village in times of crisis. So they way I see it, the village protected it citizens, communicated effectively and took a break. They accomplished the two main priorities, life safety and effective communications. The removal of debris is not time sensitive. The village manager, mayor, council, BOE and Superintendent all deserve praise. Now that being said, as an officer in the FD we always critique our operations and look for ways to improve.
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Did the village do everything perfect, no, even in the fire department things usually never go perfectly according to plan Asking the mayor to man up and admit that they could have done better are words that are too strong in my opinion.
Mark Bombace November 12, 2012 at 09:51 PM
My neighbor's tree hit my house causing some damage. Knowing the damage to the village and the wider area, the cost and likelyhood of getting a private contractor to give me an estimate that wouldn't break the bank was like asking Santa for a new car. I took it upon myself to remove the tree and bring all of my debris to the recycling center. My point is maybe we all do rely too much on the village during a crisis to claen up our property. To aid in the recovery maybe the village could ask/require landscapers who work in the village to bring the debris to the recycling center or Lakeview. This would ease the burden on the town employees and keep emergency funding lower. I saw so many just dumping the leavves and branches at the curb and moving onto the next job.
Long Time Resident November 13, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Boyd Loving said: I'm not an attorney, so reading the State of NJ legal jargon would be an exercise in futility for me. Perhaps someone who is closer to the whole ADA situation at Graydon would be so kind as to offer an opinion? So by your own admission you admit you don't know the requirements for ADA access to Graydon Pool, yet you are quick to offer your opinion that the ramp that was chosen by the Village Leaders was " not the right decision ". While you are entitled to your opinion shouldn't your opinion be based on facts?
RdgwdGRock November 13, 2012 at 05:03 AM
which flavor of kool-aid are we talking about? is that shaken or stirred?

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