Village's Only Overnight Shelter Re-opens After PSE&G Kills its Power

The utility's circuit "repairs" shut down Mount Carmel Church for more than eight hours, despite projecting a one-hour fix. The facility has since fully re-opened.

Ridgewood's only operating overnight shelter lost power and remained dark for more than eight hours before it finally reopened Sunday night, displacing those already seeking shelter.

PSE&G cut the power to the circuit Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is on at 10:45 a.m. to make other repairs in the neighborhood.

"It just went out all of the sudden," Rev. Ron Rozniak said Sunday night. 

With more than 5,500 households without power in Ridgewood, hundreds of villagers have used the Passaic St. facility for hot meals, internet access and a place to lay their heads. Seven slept over on Saturday night and more expected to sleep over on Sunday.

According to Rozniak, the utility was aware that shutting off power to the circuit – which runs roughly along Ackerman and Broad St. to the Glen Rock border – would be problematic for Mount Carmel.

"I'm surprised they took so long," he told Patch Sunday night. "When they said it would take an hour to work on, it took more than seven hours. And we told them, we even called PSE&G and said this was a warming center and an overnight shelter."

Rozniak said OLMC volunteers even told the workers stationed at nearby lines that Mount Carmel was an important site without power. With the cold setting in, the decision was made to close the doors at 7 p.m.

"It's just disappointing we had to tell people they couldn't stay," Rozniak said. 

Mount Carmel re-opened at about 8:30 p.m. when the power was finally restored.

Although some of the food will certainly have to be thrown away, volunteers will be feeding and housing residents all night and on Monday. It will be fully staffed.

The church took down the names of people who expressed interest in returning if power came back on quickly, but they had not yet heard from them as of 9:30 p.m.

Mayor Paul Aronsohn was pleased to hear the power had returned but expressed disappointment with the lack of communication from a utility he's sharply criticized in recent days. 

"It was wrong for PSEG to cut the power of Mount Carmel and many others without any advance notice and without any consideration for its impact," Aronsohn told Patch Sunday night. "I understand that such drastic measures are sometimes necessary, but this could've and should've been handled better."

A spokesman for PSE&G said he could not address specifics of the notification process between the utility and municipal officials prior to circuits being shut down for repairs.

Ryan shaw November 05, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Wow pseg looks like there on the ball (NOT)
Diane Seymour November 05, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Mostales always get made when somebody is trying to do something. I would like to see the finger pointing stop. Let's ask each other what needs to be done and just do it as a team.
Linda November 05, 2012 at 10:10 AM
It's open again. Please put up a new headline because those who only read the headline today will think it's closed.
Chris November 05, 2012 at 11:19 AM
can we name this the PSE&G bashing patch. thanks.....
Glen Mc Call November 05, 2012 at 11:42 AM
The shelter at Our Lady of Mount Carmel is open once again and is open to ALL without power or needing a place to stay warm. One correction, Mount Carmel is the only OVERNIGHT center in Ridgewood. Several others are being provided by other houses of worship but this is the only one open 24 hours a day. Glen Mc Call
perspective November 05, 2012 at 12:35 PM
So sick of the pse&g bashing and crappy attitudes. Power outages suck and they're an inconvenience but we should be thanking the workers for working their butts off trying to repair the problem. Maybe you haven't seen the trucks in your neighborhood but that's because they're working in someone else's neighborhood first. Millions lost power and unfortunately, based on whatever criteria they use, we're not the first to get it back. Now the Patch is bashing them for trying to help!
perspective November 05, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Btw, that last post was NOT aimed at the previous commenters.
Rosie November 05, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Let us not forget that PSEG is not a charity. They are a FOR profit corporation. Let us hope that are not thinking of their profits or bottom line at this time. Ridgewood has been hit before with power outages and there have been ZERO lessons learned by PSEG. I believe that is where the frustration lies.
News Man November 05, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Editor James, please rewrite headline to this topic to read: "PSE&G kills power for difficult repairs at 10:45 am and RESTORED by 8:30 pm." Thanks,,,D
Walks alot November 05, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I agree with perspective. This headline of the article is misleading and should be changed as soon as possible. And stop the PSE&G bashing. When power is restored to everyone that is the time to assess and improve response. Right now there are thousands without power and I dont think PSE&G is sitting around letting people freeze. Maybe you could do an article of what has power in the area like Malls, gyms, schools etc so people can figure out where to go to warm up.
Denise November 05, 2012 at 02:47 PM
My thoughts exactly, Walks alot, it would be a good service to the community to offer communication around where the government, and charities like the church are offering services. There are several churches in the area who have opened to the public and are serving food and offering shelter - but most people except for their parishioners typically know about it.
Denise November 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM
And also ... I saw multiple trucks fixing things around town during my morning run!!!!
Jennifer November 05, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Where was that Denise??
MG November 05, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Not one truck near Travell school
jp1 November 05, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I believe that part of the problem lies with some home owners who do not care for the trees on there on property. When they come down they rxpect the village or utility to take care of it.
Ridgewooder November 05, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Nothing near Willard (which was supposedly the hardest hit neighborhood).
Jen November 05, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Why dont we all have our own power companies like Park Ridge does? This is absurd.


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