East Brunswick still has between 2,000 and 5,000 people without power, according to PSE&G, and including JCP&L customers, about 10 percent of the township might still be in the dark, said Austin Kosik, coordinator of the Office of Emergency Management.
Despite power being out for more than 10 days in some areas, Kosik is hopeful that residents will finally find some relief this weekend.
He said that utility workers from PSE&G and JCP&L are working on larger communities before they hit individual or smaller areas. In addition, the township was told that crews would be in the area of Rolling Road, Watchung Road and Valiant, and in the Thrush Drive, Redcoat Drive and Meadowlark Lane area tomorrow.
“They’re still concentrating on big neighborhoods that are still in the dark,” said Kosik. “What added to the troubles is the snowfall on the trees that were already weekend by the storm, and then we had additional trees and tree limbs that are down.”
Kosik said he thinks the nor’easter that produced that snow contributed to the Jensen Street area problems on Thursday, which lost power several times. In addition, it was during that nor’easter that much of the township lost power again. The outage came at the same time area mayors were on a conference call with the PSE&G president and chief operating officer Ralph LaRossa to get an update on the work being done in the region. At the time, a 69,000-volt line in a substation blew. As of Thursday, 40,000 PSE&G customers were impacted by the storm, which brought 5 to 6 inches of snow to the township. Winter Storm Athena hit Middlesex and Mercer counties the hardest, LaRossa said, and repair work in both counties slowed down. In Middlesex County, 17,000 customers are still without power from Hurricane Sandy on Thursday, down from 24,000 Wednesday. Athena affected about 7,600 homeowners yesterday in Middlesex, he said.
Because of the storm, the deadline LaRossa had set for all customers to get their lights back on was changed from Friday to Saturday, mostly because of the nor'easter's damage to power lines.
Other items of note from the past week include Ryders Lane from Dunham’s Corner Road to the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. The stretch of road was closed because a utility pole from Sandy was leaning over the road. Traffic couldn’t be allowed on the road because vibrations from trucks might have caused it to fall.
In addition, Kosik said he still expects a FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center to open at the East Brunswick Division of Recreation and Parks Maintenance Facility on Dunhams Corner Road. The office was expected to open Thursday but was postponed due to manpower issues, he said. In the meantime, a mobile FEMA center is open at the Sayreville Senior Center, 423 Main Street, Sayreville.