As a wintry mix of precipitation from an incoming nor'easter fell over Scotch Plains, a small group of residents from the Bayberry Gardens apartment complex weathered the cold in an effort to urge their utility company to restore power to their community. And it seems their efforts are about to pay off.
The apartment complex, located just off Martine Avenue, has been mostly without power since super storm Sandy pummeled the region last week. Although partial power has been restored to a few of the 150 units within the complex, the residents say they still have no electricity, heat or hot water.
As they weathered the cold holding signs and hoping for a utility truck to pass by, the residents say they understand that the utility company is busy and overburdened as a result of the recent storm. Their frustration, however, stems from the fact that the problem in their complex has to do with a single fuse across the street that can easily be replaced.
"I think PSE&G is valid in saying that they're overwhelmed, but I don't think they realize that most of us (in Bayberry Gardens) still don't have power," said Antonio Sapio, a school social worker in Elizabeth.
As other residents pulled in an out of Bayberry Gardens, they applauded the efforts of the small group, and added their frustrations, saying that they have also tried repeatedly to call PSE&G, but with no success.
"They don't even answer their phone," one resident said.
Cynthia Dodger, one of the residents who braved the cold to protest the lack of power, said she was in a warm, safe place, until she received word that the power was restored to her complex. She returned, only to find out that there was only partial power in a few places. She said she's concerned about her husband, who has a heart condition and is on several medications. She is also worried about boiling water to provide heat, since the steam could eventually cause mold in her apartment.
Paul McPleasant, a superintendent in the complex, said he has also tried contacting the utility company, but to no avail.
"I called public service, but they never came," McPleasant said. "I feel like we're being ignored."
Edward Hill, another tenant, said he contacted PSE&G and gave them the number of the pole that he believes is the source of the power outage in Bayberry.
"I gave them the pole number, but I can't get anyone out here," Hill said.
As they continued to pace in front of the apartment complex, hoping to see a utility truck round the corner, the residents spotted two SUVs with PSE&G logos on the side. Excitedly, they waited for the cars to make their way to the front of the complex, at which point they spoke to the workers, who promised to get a crew out to the complex "within the hour."
The residents shook hands with the PSE&G representatives, thanking them in advance, and asthey pulled away, the small group retreated back to their apartments, hoping to see power restored before the full impact of the nor'easter hits the area.
Bayberry Gardens residents are among thousands of customers that remain without electricity throughout the state as a result of last week's super storm. Local officials and utility crews have expressed concern that this latest storm could pack winds in excess of 50 miles per hour and once again knock out power in some areas.
Patch will update this story when more information becomes available.