A tweet from one Mahwah resident saying that villagers should go without power for their complaints regarding a controversial PSEG project in Ridgewood is no big deal.
But when three official PSEG Twitter accounts—boasting a total of more than 50,000 followers—retweet it, “someone needs to answer for this,” according to Ridgewood’s mayor.
Following the brouhaha between the utility and the village over the installation of 65-foot-tall utility poles running high voltage lines through residential neighborhoods, Twitter user @TaraSchwenkerNJ on July 16 wrote, "@PSEGdelivers Great job during Sandy and u r now being proactive. If Ridgewood NJ hates the new poles, let them go w/out power next storm."
The utility's @PSEGdelivers account retweeted the message, displaying it to 42,000+ followers. PSEG did the same with its @PSEGCares (3,394 followers) and @PSEGNews (12,500 followers) accounts as well.
"This is wholly inappropriate and could be construed as a threat," said an enraged Mayor Paul Aronsohn on Monday. "I can't imagine that anyone in PSEG's senior leadership would've permitted this, but someone needs to answer for this seeming breach of public trust."
PSEG spokeswoman Karen Johnson said the utility does not endorse the message, which came from the company's social media team.
"What I can say is that retweet was an error," she told Patch. "It should not have been retweeted. That was a mistake... I don't know precisely what happened or who was involved but it should not have occurred."
PSEG had been aware of the retweets before Patch made inquiries on Monday, according to Johnson. She maintained that PSEG will restore power in Ridgewood — and any town in its service area — as quickly as possible.
"Reliability is our mandate. That is our obligation and that's why we are upgrading our facilities to make sure people have reliable power. That's why we're doing the project."
Schwenker did not immediately return a request for comment Monday afternoon.
Village officials and PSEG, meanwhile, remain in discussions over whether installation of the 78 poles will continue, and if so, when.