With Shrewsbury Still Dark, Mayor Absolves JCP&L

Mayor says the power conglomerate has its hands full and has been communicating well following Hurricane Sandy.

When Hurricane Irene caused major power outages throughout Monmouth County last year, local officials were quick to criticize power conglomerate Jersey Central Power and Light for its failure to communicate with area municipalities and act quickly enough to restore electricity.

What followed was a JCP&L apology tour of sorts. Company executives hit the road, appearing at council meetings and town halls to take a punishment most felt was well deserved. Humbled by a storm that arrived on shore with only a fraction of its expected intensity, JCP&L promised to do better next time.

In Shrewsbury, the lights are still out.

Route 35, the town's central artery, is black at night, its traffic lights still dimmed and its bordering businesses all waiting for power to be restored. Mayor Donald Burden was among those leaders who challenged JCP&L's response during Irene. But, with Shrewsbury still dark five days after Hurricane Sandy's arrival on the New Jersey shore, Burden can't find anything bad to say about JCP&L.

"There's been a big difference compared to last year," Burden said of JCP&L's response. "They've been much better. I think they listed to a lot of the complaints last year and have done better."

Though downed power lines sit unattended in many borough neighborhoods and JCP&L can only be spotted as its trucks speed down Route 35 to destinations unknown, Burden said the power company has been communicative and upfront about its efforts following Sandy.

For one thing, he said, company execs host a conference call every day at 4 p.m. to alert mayors in affected towns to what is being done. Also, importantly, they've been honest in their explanations of what's going on and what kind of work is being done in New Jersey. Right now, Burden said, JCP&L is just not in a position to tell most towns when they can expect the lights to come back on.

"We need to be a little empathetic and sympathetic to our neighbors right now," he said, talking about coastal towns that recieved the brunt of Sandy's force.

Soon after Sandy hit, with outages rising rapidly throughout Monmouth County, JCP&L said customers could expect power to return in seven to 10 days. Several days later, JCP&L amended that time table to include time frames as long as two weeks. Two weeks from the time of the new announcement, that is.

Most customers should see a return to service by Wednesday, Nov. 7.

In Shrewsbury, roughly 1,855 customers are without power. And with Sandy having caused widespread devastation to coastal towns, it's likely crews have been trying to repair severely damage infrastructure up and down the Jersey Shore, leaving most to wait.

Still, Burden said he's proud of the way the town has handled its adversity. The department of public works and fire department have done exemplary jobs responding to calls, clearing roads of downed branches and trees and keeping residents safe. Then there are the residents, Burden said, who have taken to looking after each other following Sandy.

"All things considered," he said. "I think Shrewsbury is faring very well."

Abby Hoffman November 03, 2012 at 01:00 PM
That's all fine & good but when I see neighboring towns who have less damage than Shrewsbury getting power, it becomes harder to understand why jcp&l haven't made a better effort here. This is getting psychologically tedious!!
Cold in shrewsbury November 03, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Would be nice if the mayor passes on some of that information from his daily calls. Sounds like shrewsbury will be the last town to get power with this mayor leading the way.
powerless for days November 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Im wondering the same thing, eatontown has power and so does red bak and little silver as of firday night at least... what is taking sooo long if we are right next door. this mayor sucks! with him sitting back and not pressing the issue WE are going to be the last town to get power ! rediculous !
rbresident November 03, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Only a few streets of red bank have power and i have yet to hear about LS getting power. I know they didn't have it friday thats for sure.
min November 03, 2012 at 05:58 PM
People need to get.back to work. we.need the businesses.to open. we need electricity in shrewsburu asap!!! this is killing us.
TL November 03, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Please keep your loss of power in perspective...just look at our neighbors in Sea Bright and what they've lost. Our town is very lucky in comparison. The mayor could scream and rant but the power company is working...shame on anyone to be so self centered while our entire area is in ruin... And the author of this article should also be ashamed...what is the purpose of a headline like this...are you trying to upset people during a difficult time...where is the sense of community? These comments are reprehensible !!!
Jerry casciano November 04, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Power is just convienence... PERIOD light a candle,put on a sweater,and chill out! Oh and by the way a bright side to all this!!!!! MAYBE ...just MAYBE. Some soft,FAT obese , Americans will miss.a meal and loose some blubber! THAT WOULD BE GREAT!!!!!!
Christopher Biello November 04, 2012 at 01:40 AM
wow.... just wow...
Fred RBPatch November 04, 2012 at 02:59 AM
The topic here is about how "JCP&L and SHREWSBURY's power outages". How is it that, according to the mayor, "All things considered," he said. "I think Shrewsbury is faring very well."? Over 85% of JCP&L customers in Shrewsbury are without power. ...and you think that "is faring very well"? That was a stupid comment.
Karen November 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM
My mother has lived in Shrewsbury for 60 of her 98 years. We contacted boro hall before the storm hit to see if they would provide a generator if needed as some other surrounding towns do for elderly or infirm residents. They said they would do so only if she is on oxygen, which she is not. Her house has now been without power since the storm.
rbresident November 06, 2012 at 08:14 PM
You can't blame the town for that. They need to help the people that need it the MOST. Aka people who need to be on oxygen. Otherwise the town would have to spend 500,000 to have a generator for every person. Best bet is to buy one so next time you're better prepared. The town can't hand us everything. As much as we would want them too.
joeybaggodounts November 06, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Shrewsbuys mayor is a moron. File a complaint with the BPU to revoke their license. http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/assistance/complaints/
Jay November 06, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Agreed TL, everyone complaining here obviously has a computer or smartphone to be posting comments. And a place to call "Home" still (even if there is no power). Be thankful for what you have and take all this negative energy and use of your time and do somwthing positive with it. And for the person that said Shrewsbury will probably be the last town to get power....take a drive down to Pt. Pleasant and the Highlands and re-think that comment.
Robin Foster November 08, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Hey Patch: Why are you running a 5 day old story about Shrewsbury? It's November 8th. If there's no new news, maybe that's your story. Let's get something up-to-date about the power outages.
Edward Van Embden (Editor) November 08, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Hey Robin, this story was posted on Nov. 3, five days ago.


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