Residents Express Frustrations on Being Without Power for Days

Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents suffered days without power, some still without. Many Scotch Plains residents are frustrated with the lack of information they are receiving from the township and the inaccurate timelines from PSE&G.

Updated: The substation in Sewaren has been fixed.

Update: According to PSE&G, at around 3 p.m. a subsation issue in Sewaren causes about 40,000 customers to be without power again in Edison, Scotch Plains, Rahway and surrounding areas.

Some Scotch Plains residents are still in the dark as it hits the two week mark since Sandy made her way through the tri-state area. The rest of Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents suffered at least 10 days without power in their homes.

As of Monday at 3 p.m. PSE&G reports 278 outages, 19 of those outages are due to Sandy and the remaining 259 were caused by the nor'easter.

If you are still without power, please let us know in the comments section.

While Fanwoodians suffered long days without power, they were also provided with more frequent and detailed updates than Scotch Plains residents. At least, that's how most Scotch Plains residents felt during Sandy's aftermath.

Scotch Plains residents voiced on Twitter, Facebook and the comments section of Patch that they were thankful of PSE&G's efforts and that they were lucky not to be worse off. But most expressed an immense amount of frustration about the lack of information from the township or misinformation from PSE&G.

The Township of Scotch Plains did provide information for residents, but the information from Fanwood was more specific as to what issues PSE&G was facing.

In an article on NJ.com, the following information was included on Scotch Plains Mayor, Mary DePaola, under the label "Falling Short."

Mary DePaola, Scotch Plains mayor, said she is very unhappy with how her borough performed.

"How do you contact 23,000 residents when there is no power, no TV, no telephone, no e-mail and let them know what’s going on?" she asked.

It’s a question Scotch Plains failed to answer before Sandy. The borough, DePaola said, didn’t have in place reverse-911 calls or a way to get those calls to residents’ cell phones. That will be fixed, she said.

Last week she fired Paul Malool, the town’s emergency management coordinator, because, she said, of poor performance during and after the storm.

She said a report is being written on how to do better next time. One idea is to have block captains who would be responsible for their street or neighborhood and would deliver fliers to their area.

Additionally, the information PSE&G provided for Scotch Plains continually changed and the restoration dates residents were provided with were never accurate for most.

Governor Chris Christie announced that 99 percent of power would be restored in New Jersey by Saturday night, but much of Scotch Plains must have been in the final one percent because residents did not see restoration until Sunday or early Monday.

Other residents, such as The Wolfe's, who live on Round Hill Road are still without power.

The Wofle's said their home lost power on Monday at 5 p.m. along with most of the neighborhood. 

Once trees had been removed allowing them to travel from their home, they placed an order with PSE&G on Nov. 1. After not hearing back from the company, they placed another order on Nov. 10.

"Power to the south of us down Rahway had been restored by this time," Skylar Wolfe said. "But Round Hill and the roads to the north were still dark."

When Skylar called again on Sunday the automated system said power would be restored by Tuesday, past the promise date of restoration for the state.

Each time the couple called PSE&G throughout Sunday they were given different answers. Some representatives told them it would be Tuesday, while others told them to hold for a supervisor. On three seperate calls, they were never given to a supervisor, but rather disconnected. 

One representative told them that power had been restored to their area. The representative noted that only one home in Scotch Plains was without power and all other work orders had been cancelled.

"I put in new work orders with increasing frustration, but they were all met with a Tuesday or later deadline.  The online system stopped giving us ETA for repair, if we submitted a new order it would just auto affix 12 hours later as our time of restoration," Skylar stated.

All of the calls the Wolfe's made might have done something because at around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday a PSE&G car was driving around their neighborhood. The woman inside said she was surveying homes that were without power. Once she realized the area was without power she called PSE&G trucks to the Wolfe's area of Scotch Plains.

Skylar stated within an hour their power was restored, however around 9:30 this morning their street once again lost power.

Several residents Patch spoke with said they knew exactly what date and time they would receive for restoration when calling PSE&G because it was always 12 or 48 hours from when they placed the call. Yet when those hours passed and they called again they received a new time that was another 12 or 48 hours later.

While schools, hospitals and nursing homes were among the locations meant to be a top priority for PSE&G, two of the elementary schools in Scotch Plains, School One and Coles were without power the entire week of Sandy and did not reopen until Nov. 12.

Ashbrook Nursing Home was running on generators until Sunday at around 5 p.m.

Residents on parts of Raritan Road were also without power until Sunday evening.

Residents of the Bayberry Apartment Complex took to the streets to protest their power outages last week and within hours PSE&G had restored power to the complex.

Pamela Shlissel of Highlander Drive received power back to her home on Nov. 8 but reached out to Patch to express that large areas on the south side of Scotch Plains such as Berwyck Chase and Clarks Lane still were without power on Sunday morning.

A Berwyck Chase resident believed they would be the last to receive power back, but the area had it restored on Sunday evening.

In an email to Patch, a Bryant Avenue resident noted how the utility company just kept pushing the date back.

"The residents on our street are concerned that at our block has been overlooked and quite frankly we've had enough of living in a cold, dark house," he stated. "We're disappointed by the lack of action on our local government to hold PSE&G accountable to this timetable and lack of overall communication to the many residents that are still suffering.  It's a terrible thing and we feel helpless"

The PSE&G website currently removed all the plans for restoration. At the top of the page is a message, "Sandy was devastating, thanks to everyone who helped us rise to the challenge."

The township of Scotch Plains sent out a message on Monday afternoon that they are no longer in the emergency management stage and will be moving to clean up and removal efforts, read more about those efforts here.

Carly November 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Where without power again on Canterbury Drive scotch plains.. :(
Ryan P. November 12, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I am so sorry, Carly. You should not be enduring this abomination.
Ryan P. November 12, 2012 at 08:53 PM
We don't have power either along with 79,000 of our closest friends at the moment :)
Ryan P. November 12, 2012 at 08:54 PM
A substation failed in Sewaren this afternoon.
Ryan P. November 12, 2012 at 08:54 PM
The hits just keep on coming....
Chester A. Arthur November 12, 2012 at 10:48 PM
substation has been fixed..
Jon November 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Yet again, another awfully written article. Jake says this article was written by a 7th grade student learning journalism. Monica says no complete thoughts are made. See how this is written, unbelievable that they are employed to do this.
Gina Barber November 13, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I agree Jon-- terrible grammar!!
LynnSusan Walters November 13, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Brilliant idea for block captains to hand out fliers during a power outage---- I hope all the block captains are professional calligraphers and scribes, because I doubt any printers will be functional without electrical power. Why can't the police department patrol all the neighborhoods using the loud speaker or bullhorn to let people know where they can go to re-charge electronics, get warm (or cool, as the case may be) and get a cup of coffee? In a disaster such as Sandy was, it should be "all hands on deck" to "serve and protect" . During the aftermath of the storm , I did not see one police cruiser in my neighborhood. We have become too dependent on technology, which, as we learned, is almost useless in an outage of these proportions.Another low-tech solution might be to call-in to a specified radio station to keep citizens abreast. Governor Christie managed to get information out to people listening to local radio on battery operated sets. Let's have some low tech solutions from some creative thinkers.
LynnSusan Walters November 13, 2012 at 01:51 AM
While I understand the necessity of tending to schools and hospitals, first, don't forget that many people are home caregivers for the elderly and young children---is there a registry in town for people who have special medical needs at home, like oxygen and dialysis? I would like to see trained volunteers (maybe off duty rescue squad members) checking on those people to be sure they have the care they need---even if it is only a flashlight, a blanket or a reassuring voice.
LynnSusan Walters November 13, 2012 at 01:53 AM
And perhaps the SP OEM (such as it is now) can co-ordinate a volunteer generator loaner system, whereby those who have regained power, if they choose to participate, can loan their generators to those whose power has still not been restored, for the duration of the outage. I think what we have learned from this storm, is that we cannot rely on "government" to offer aid, information and instruction, but rather most neighbors are willing to offer a helping hand to their neighbors.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 13, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Hi Jon, Sorry you feel that way. I will read the article again and make a few edits.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 13, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Hi Gina, As I told Jon, I'm sorry you feel that way. I will read the article again and make a few edits. Side note - In the future, on Patch you can reply directly to a user's comments to have a conversation with that individual user. Instead of writing in the box below all comments, you can click directly on the reply box under the specific user's comments. By replying directly to a user's comment they will get an email notification that you have interacted with them! Best, Nicole
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 13, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Hi LynnSusan, There is a list you can sign up for through PSE&G for those who have special medical needs such as oxygen and dialysis, as you mentioned. You should be able to sign up for that through your account on their website.
LynnSusan Walters November 13, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Thanks, Nicole---it is no longer an issue for me, personally, but thank you for that information.
kettle black November 13, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Who are Jake and Monica and why do you bother posting their insults? Are they your ugly children? "See how this is written, unbelievable that they are employed to do this." Who is this "they" you're referring to? If you're just going to post insults for no reason, at least try to write like you know how to construct a proper sentence. Otherwise you come off sounding like an idiot. Are you just bitter because your kids are ugly?
kettle black November 13, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Gina, If you want your insult to make sense, there should be a comma between "agree" and "Jon." Otherwise it sounds like you're "agreeing Jon," which makes no sense but sounds kind of dirty. Get your mind out of the gutter, lady! You're not too far from Brunner, so you might want to consider dropping in one day to brush up on your punctuation.
Jon November 13, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Yes, my kids are ugly. That is exactly why.
kettle black November 13, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Yeah, we'll go with that, "Jon." Not with the fact that you're a hypocritical, privileged jerk who brings down the level of discussion on Patch by attacking the only person who consistantly fed us information during the worst storm in our town's history for reasons you're unable to articulate clearly. Actually, now I'm leaning towards both, since that shoe seems to fit you as well. But don't worry, sport, if that's what the crumbling infrastructure of your manhood needs to do to get its kicks, by all means keep up the ad hominem attacks. Just keep telling yourself you don't come off sounding like a bitter and awkward old man frustrated because he couldn't get his ED pills when Sandy closed the pharmacies. Convince yourself that regular Patch readers don't see you as a cowardly troll who makes this town just a little bit worse for everyone through your arrogance and ignorance. It must be awfully tough to be such a smart guy and have no one like you!
twogirls84 November 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Block Captains??? The first thing I thought of when I read this was, 'What if the block captain leaves due to the power being out for almost two weeks???? Who is in charge then...the deputy block captain?' I agree...no police presence, no information, and no mayor. Let's hope this is handled in a more professional and organized manner should we Gd forbid have to deal with this type of situation again!
twogirls84 November 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Rumor has it (...and I do say 'rumor') was that Scotch Plains had no plan in place for this type of disaster. Hopefully the new regime will get on that....hopefully.
Townieville November 13, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Where are all these neighborhoods that never saw any police cars? I always saw them around the south side of town.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) November 13, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Hey Ryan, I'm not sure if you lost power again due to the substation or were without it still from the storm, is it back now?
twogirls84 November 13, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Townieville...is it safe to assume you never saw them on all of the many cul de sacs that offshoot Cooper Rd bet Terrill and Rahway? That's my area and they were not here...at least not in the daylight hours.
Jon November 13, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Ok, kettle, relax. Stop wasting your time because you probably think I am someone else. I responded more nicely before, but my comments got deleted so this one was a bit more mean. Yes, the Patch gave more information than anywhere else. However, they are a company looking to make a profit. I just think this article is written poorly and you can see others on here if you don't believe it. One sentence paragraphs, changing topics with no transitions, etc. All those things just make it impossible to read.
Ryan P. November 14, 2012 at 06:01 AM
@Jon and Gina: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Do you feel superior now as you marinate in your smugness? To what end were you aiming for in attempting to demean, belittle, and degrade Nicole? Was it to deflect attention from your own glaring flaws or is the venomous vindictiveness that spewths forth from you like verbal vomit a consequence of a dark heart and withered soul? The answer is axiomatic.
Jon November 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Ryan, I'm glad you or kettle have not argued against my point since it is clearly true. The persons job is to write articles about the happenings around here. It is done poorly, I pointed that out. A brief look at your posting history shows you have done the same thing directed at someone else.
kettle black November 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I could care less what you think is "clearly true." What Ryan and I object to is your incivility, which is a nice way of saying the insulting tone your posts detracts far more from Patch than a few grammatical errors. The best posters here like Holden and bgporter can all make their points civilly. Grow up and learn from them or expect to keep getting called out.
ketel black November 14, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I am ketel black, the protector of civil online posting.


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