JCP&L is hitting the ground running, after enduring public criticism as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011.
The power company, which services municipalities across New Jersey, is launching a community outreach program which encompasses everything from better communication on the ground to a daily conference call with the company president for local government officials during a natural disaster.
Shrewsbury Mayor Donald Burden called Jersey Central Power and Light's response to Hurricane Irene disappointing. Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna called it a "dismal failure."
When Hurricane Irene hit the New Jersey Coast, it left thousands without power and communities without information about when they could expect to get it back. More so than the outages, officials were upset with the power company's near-complete lack of communication with towns following the storm. Left in the dark, leaders from all levels of state government registered their frustrations with the company and demanded swift action.
Gerry Riccardi, JCP&L area spokesman, said the company redesign is a result of what some called sub-par communication after Hurricane Irene.
The company has also updated its website, to include safety information and updated power outage maps. Locally, the outreach has seen JCP&L focus is efforts in nearby Marlboro, whose mayor was especially vocal over the power company's failings.
In addition to communications improvements, JCP&L has conducted sustainability studies which pinpointed specific areas of concern on five major circuits in Marlboro. Ricciardi said repairs will be done by July 1.
"I was very critical of JC&L after Hurricane Irene," Mayor Jon Hornik said. "JCP&L has spent a lot of time in Marlboro, I do appreciate the effort."
JCP&L will also continue tree-trimming, creating 10 foot clearances around wires. Residents looking to private trees to be trimmed near power lines can submit a request online.
Ricciardi said that while in Northern New Jersey flooding was a major factor, in Marlboro power loss was largely a result of large, fallen trees.
And while communication is improving, the spokesman said there is no way for JCP&L to know about a private outage unless it is reported. Customers can report an outage online or by calling JCP&L at 1-888-544-4877.