Scotch Plains Residents Protest Continued Power Outage

A small group of residents held signs and marched in front of their apartment complex, hoping to get the attention of their utility company.

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.

SPResident November 07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Has it been an hour? Is PSEG fixing the problem?
snoopy November 07, 2012 at 07:30 PM
i feeel so badd for the people who are still out of power.
Bridget November 07, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I sure hope they fix this problem soon. I will believe this when I get home and see all power up and the heat and hot water is working.
Toniann Antonelli (Editor) November 07, 2012 at 07:59 PM
To my knowledge, the power hasn't been restored yet.
Ed Minall November 07, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I like their approach for standing up for themselves. As someone who just power yesterday, I can appreciate the level of frustration and misery. The power outages to me is indicative of a much bigger issue. There needs to be a paradigm shift regarding the shade trees in general. The shade trees (trees planted within 10' of the curb line)in our area were primarily planted during the 50's. The useful life of these trees has come to an end. The trees are either dead, or are in the process of dying. The majority of the problematic trees during storm events have a high presence of decay. The trees are literally rotting from the inside out. Hence, the reason why they lose large limbs, tops break or topple over. In addition, heavy pruning by the utility companies lessens a tree's ability to balance during high winds. A tree strategically grows limbs symmetrically to counter balance itself during high winds. Pruning of live wood in trees to avoid utility lines alters the tree's ability to balance during high winds and results into toppling. With that being said, the existing shade trees should be proactively (not reactively)removed and replaced with new ones strategically located. The rotten trees are a life safety issue. My suggestion would save lives, create jobs and reduce the number/duration of power outages. In addition, to saving millions of dollars in property damage and lost revenue. There are costs involved, but there is an ROI and there is no cost for human life.
bgporter November 07, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Ed -- my son (an aspiring landscape architect) has brought this issue up to members of the Fanwood shade tree commission. He's selected/suggested a list of native trees that would need less maintenance because they would be more appropriately sized (you don't need to keep hacking at a tree that crowns out at a lower level than the lines). He was told that they use the trees that they do because they have a longer lifespan. Personally, I'd rather have a 30-foot hawthorn or 20-foot redbud under my lines than an 80 foot oak that could crush my house. Replacing the existing trees with the same species is just creating the same problem for our grandkids.
Toniann Antonelli (Editor) November 07, 2012 at 09:03 PM
FYI - Just got a call from the superintendent at Bayberry - power HAS been restored! Such great news! Stay warm everyone!
Beth Lugara November 07, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Awesome! I live at Bayberry. Power is back!
Liffey Boy November 08, 2012 at 01:43 AM
How is all of this information / misinformation regarding restoration of power, etc. being communicated to SP residents without power, i.e. internet & TV?? I have not had anyone come to my door after 9 days without power on Church Avenue. Who is checking on residents...READ SENIORS??? Politicians be advised DO NOT to come to my door for any reason!! How about a flyer with important phone numbers, etc....oh sorry that might cost too much money!! FED UP WITH POLITICIANS AND THEIR B.S
SPResident November 08, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Contacting PSEG to get status is futile. The customer service reps have no idea what is actually happening outside. The @PSEGdelivers twitter feed is just a bunch of corporate cheerleaders who don't have any useful info. Just for fun, tweet them a fake power restoration message and watch it get published. The overall lack of communication and coordination is pathetic. The only people who have some sort of info are the people in the PSEG trucks actually doing the work. Go up to them and ask. Many are quite friendly.
Joanne November 08, 2012 at 02:37 PM
The response by PSE&G has been appalling! There are several homes with downed power lines on Manitou Way. My street hasn't been touched since the Hurricane. When I call PSE&G, all I get is a recording. We have families with small children, elderly, and sick family members on this block. This is unconscionable!
rich souto November 08, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Any news on Acacia Rd by Mountain Ave/Route 22? It looked like a transformer was hit but not too bad. Still had no power as of Nov. 6th.
ParkMom November 08, 2012 at 05:37 PM
we are dealing with it. I feel much worse for people who lost everything.. they are far worse than we are. My heart goes out to them. very sad.
ParkMom November 08, 2012 at 05:39 PM
it was a huge storm. I am on Church also.. slowing the homes are getting electric.. Hopefully we will be next. So many people lost everything.. i can't complain. This storm was a huge storm.. doing so much damage. We will be back soon..
ParkMom November 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Still no power today on parts of church... hoping it will be fixed soon.. they came on Tues.. fixed some poles.. haven't seen them since..
Antonio Sapio November 08, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Toni, I want to personally thank you for bringing attention to our problem yesterday. Power was fortunately restored as promised, when a utility truck came to fix the fuse on the pole shortly after the PSE&G vans left. The repair took a mere five minutes! What a relief it was to feel heat again in our apartments - especially with a night of cold wind and snow coming upon us!
Catherine Peckman November 09, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Manitou Way and Unami. No power since 10-29-12. Outrageous!
Joanne November 10, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Day 13. The downed power lines on Manitou Way remain untouched. No utility trucks have been spotted in the neighborhood. PSE&G continues to lie about their workers working round the clock. They are all parked in the Sears lot on Terrill. My house was brutally cold again last night. It was impossible to sleep. Ignoring this problem will not make it go away.


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