With many of his town's residents still without power nearly a week after Hurricane Sandy landed on New Jersey's shores, Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna isn't willing to let Jersey Central Power and Light off easy, even as it coordinates its largest power restoration effort ever.
On his Facebook page, Menna, who criticized the power conglomerate for its admittedly poor response following last year's Hurricane Irene, said JCP&L has not provided the borough with clear answers as to when Red Bank will be back at full power, offering only "corporate doubletalk" instead.
Menna's message was at odds with several other local leaders, including Shrewsbury Mayor Donald Burden, who have accepted the lengthy restoration delays as work continues to be done to restore power to residents throughout the state following the most devastating storm in recorded history. As of Saturday night, JCP&L was reporting about 3,500 Red Bank customers without power, a marked decline from the more than 6,000 affected customers it reported were without power two days ago.
Still, Menna said JCP&L has failed to communicate properly with towns. He is urging residents to call the power company and voice their displeasure with the extended outages.
Menna also reported seeing hundreds of utility trucks sitting idly by at Monmouth Park, their crews waiting instruction.
"Wake up Corporate," Menna wrote. "Send the crews to the towns and let our own Office of Emergency Management direct where the repair is needed."
In both Red Bank and Shrewsbury, Department of Public Works crews set out immediately to clear roads and restore driving access throughout their respective towns. In both municipalities, however, the road closures that remain are due to downed poles and wires that are waiting for JCP&L to tend to. In most instances, those areas have been ignored for the past week.
Though many Red Bank residents are still without power, the municipality has fared better than most when it comes to seeing power restored. Just a couple of days after Sandy knocked out power to more than 90 percent of Monmouth County, large parts of downtown Red Bank were back open with electricity flowing. Officials said significant portions of the downtown belong to the same grid as Riverview Medical Center, where power restoration was an immediate priority.
Since then, several Red Bank neighborhoods have seen their power restore, while other towns, like Shrewsbury, have seen little to no work being done or visible efforts to restore power from JCP&L.