Vaughan 'Disgusted' with JCP&L's Response to Storm
Like many residents, the borough mayor is in his fourth day without power.
Borough Mayor Nelson Vaughan said Wednesday he has "never seen Chatham in this much trouble."
With major roadways and side streets without power since Saturday, Vaughan said JCP&L's response to the October snowstorm is "an abject failure to plan ahead. ... Their answer to everything is 'We didn't plan for anything of this magnitude so quickly after Irene.'
"I've been in touch with the governor's office. He's as mad as we are. I've also been in touch with William Chegwidden [director of the Morris County Freeholders.] He's disgusted, too," Vaughan said.
JCP&L held a conference call for municipal mayors Friday afternoon to discuss preparation ahead of the storm. In its aftermath, Vaughan said the conference call was "more like listening to a fairy tale."
Ron Morano of JCP&L said the utility company is currently working on restoring areas where the most customers are affected and working their way down to areas with fewer affected customers. "We're out there restoring equally the largest number of customers and then working our way down," he said.
As of 10:26 a.m. Wednesday, JCP&L outage maps show 1,456 Chatham customers still without power. Morristown has 4,922; Randolph, Rockaway, Denville, Dover, Mendham and Parsippany all have over 2,000 customers still without power.
Morano said crews are working specifically on getting power restored to area schools Wednesday and could not provide information in where Chatham neighborhoods fall in the prioritization list.
Borough services are still operational, including recycling collection Wednesday by Waste Management and garbage collection Thursday. Bulk pick-up is scheduled for Monday.
Trucks from JCP&L and OhioEdison could be seen Tuesday along Kings Road and Lafayette Avenue, but progress remains slow. Vaughan recommended any residents without power find alternative lodgings, if possible.
"We were promised more trucks," Vaughan said. "Why weren't those brought in last Thursday and Friday? ... What we need from JCP&L is not excuses. We need solutions. We're getting no solutions from JCP&L."
The Library of the Chathams and the Chatham Emergency Squad building are open for people to warm up and charge electronics. Summit Middle School is also open 24 hours a day for local residents without power in their homes.
Since Sunday, 1,340 people have sought shelter at the Library of the Chathams.