From the Mayor's Desk:
I must apologize for not having sent or posted an update on the power situation in the borough since Monday. The conditions have been so fluid that each time I have something prepared it changes and the information is not relevant.
When I went to the borough hall this morning I was fairly optimistic that Garwood was on the way to having our power fully restored, after all last night at this time there appeared to be just a couple of pockets of outages.
We thought that we were dealing with some isolated situations attributable to a few downed trees, some utility poles or individual lines. We had made arrangements last evening for warming stations and distributed written information sheets for those areas still in distress and were grateful that those arrangements were not to be needed after all.
This morning, my daily 10:00 AM update Mayor's conference call with PSE&G officials would be concentrating on one or two hot spots of trouble in the borough. I would again be publicly expressing my acute displeasure with the continued misinformation and inaccurate outage numbers that I felt had been coming our way from this mega-utility.
Several times daily myself, the chief and our officers submit updated lists of problems to PSE&G in an effort to “squeeze” out answers that we can pass along to our residents.
Personally, over the weekend I reached out to the mayors of Cranford and Westfield forming a “tag team” of sorts to resolve the issue of who is connected to what service grid where our municipalities abutt each other on the south side of the borough, as it appears we share a circuit.
We were hoping to get some resolution by exerting strength in numbers pressure to gain attention. Perhaps that resulted in getting some restoration of power to residents but the streets that were restored on Thursday went down Sunday at noon to come up again last night to go back down again today.
At this writing, we have some who have never gotten power back at all since the storm first hit, some who have had it restored, some who have had service restored once or twice only to repeatedly loose it again. The utility has repeatedly reported that residents can expect periodic outages as service is suspended to make repairs to circuits and then reconnected when the work is completed, however it does not appear to be the case with the latest outages.
I have residents in the borough who I have asked to please report to me personally day or night when the power goes out in their homes/street so we can make sure we know what is going on in all corners of the borough. Today we engaged a private company with professionals who are certified to remove trees that are entangled in the wires hoping that we can expedite PSE&G’s process to repair specific trouble spots in the borough. These hopes were blown out of the water when the snow and winds started hampering the work and possibly creating other obstacles such as the transformers which blew out earlier tonight taking what looks like most of Center Street’s power with it.
The bottom line is that we are it appears no better off tonight than we were last Thursday morning. An extremely frustrating and unacceptable state of affairs seemingly outside our ability to rectify, but not one to take no for an answer, I will continue to advocate for our residents until everyone has power restored for good. The borough hall has been open and will remain open to residents for charging phones and laptops or to just get warm, hot drinks are available however we do not have shelter facilities to accommodate overnight stays.
If any residents require overnight shelter they can go to the regional shelter at the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue, it is pet friendly, but residents must bring their own pet supplies and cleanup equipment. Call 908-709-7283 press 2 when prompted. The Sheriff’s Ofice will provide transport for ambulatory residents to the shelter, please call 908-654-9881.
Garwood schools will have a delayed opening on Thursday, Nov. 8, due to the weather conditions; this is posted on the school website at www.garwoodschools.org.
Our police force is continuing patrols of blackout areas of the borough and checking on or senior citizens welfare as time permits. We would like to urge residents to check on their neighbors who are aged or infirmed as well and to contact the police should they require assistance. Residents are reminded to “self report” lack of power even if they believe it is obvious to the utilities that they are out of power. This is the only way to be certain the utility company do not miss individual outages and that all power is restored. - PSE&G Outages 1-800-436-7734.
For updates please go to www.garwoodpd.org , sign up for First Alert reverse 911 calls and email updates. As information becomes available I will continue to provide updates from PSE&G, the Governor’s office and the County. Please be safe.