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Christie Pushes Utility Companies to Restore Power

Governor says schools should be open on days set aside for teachers convention.

Gov. Chris Christie said thousands of added workers from across the country are set to arrive in New Jersey, after he pressed utility companies to speed up repairs.  

Christie said he told chief executives of the state's largest utilities they must take extraordinary steps to step up restoration efforts. 

"I made it clear to them that whatever playbooks they had were to be thrown out because we've never faced anything like this before," the governor said. 

Governors from Ohio to Virginia dispatched repair crews to aid storm-ravaged New Jersey, Christie said at a briefing in Moonachie Thursday afternoon.

President Barack Obama offered to fly utility crews and equipment to the state on military aircraft, Christie said. Federal emergency management officials were also establishing housing for the workers at Fort Monmouth.

"You're going to see the results of that because the power will be restored much more quickly than it would have been otherwise because of these new people," Christie said. 

Public Service Electric and Gas, the state's largest utility, said in a statement Thursday that full service might not be restored for a week or 10 days. No new timeline was immediately released. 

Christie said he would make electric companies provide updated estimates once crews were tallied. 

More than 1.7 New Jersey electric customers remained without service four days after Hurricane Sandy slammed the state. That number was down from 2.7 million without power. In Bergen County, Teaneck, Hackensck and Fort Lee were some of the towns hardest hit by outages. 

Gasoline and diesel fuel were also bound for New Jersey, but set aside for government and vehicles involved with the relief effort, including utility crews. 

Christie also commended the state's teachers union for canceling its annual conference in Atlantic City. The event was scheduled for Nov. 8-9, days when school is normally closed. 

With the conference canceled, Christie said schools should open. 

"I understand that the teachers convention and those two days off is a statutory entitlement that was given to the teachers union but I think these are extraordinary circumstances," the governor said. 

"I would hope they would do it voluntarily and I'm confident they will, but I would not hesitate to do what needed to be done to help our children get the education they need," he said of teachers working during the scheduled convention days off. 

Concerns over voting are mounting as some polling places have been washed away or remain without electricity. 

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said she directed county clerks to keep offices open over the weekend and extended the mail-in ballot deadline. Clerks were set to report by tomorrow which of the state's 3,000 polling places were unusable and temporary voting areas would be setup using military trucks. 

Officials would work to get people staying in shelters mail-in ballots, Guadagno said. 

Bergen County was added to the President's major disaster area declaration on Thursday, Rep. Bill Pascrell announced. Christie asked residents seeking federal assistance to call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. 

"Our job has moved now from saving lives to rebuilding them," the governor said. "We must move together to return New Jersey to normalcy."

paul smith November 02, 2012 at 06:14 PM
see the quote for what it is- i know 1 crew didnt even come to new jersey that was mixed in this story- i'm sure the details will be eventually made known but looking at the quote he didnt directly say that it was false or true but that jcp+l did not turn the crew away-and i didnt say anythng about restoring power to empty lots and destroyed homes- where are you getting that from? I hope to hell the story is false but there has yet to be a direct NO.
zizi November 02, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@Joan: Please be careful.... there are plenty here who would like to call you a "griper"
Arthur Bonzolli November 02, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Get real. PSE&G has an unprecedented disaster on there hands. MILLIONS of people are in the dark. It's not like the electric companies created a hurricane to have a good laugh at your expense. So you are wrong. You are also a spoiled brat who should be thankful you still have a home. I know you have a lot of MTV and Seinfeld reruns to watch and you specifically are THE most important and most effected person in New Jersey at the moment but please, take a deep breath, and go take a huge dump to get out all the b.s. you're spewing. Go live down Seaside Heights for a day and see how you like it. You'll see real suffering. You are pathetic.
J November 02, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Anybody know when Hillsdale power will be back on?
john johansen November 02, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Paul Smith. Dead wrong with a mean-spirited agenda.
Karin Kiesow-Irvine November 02, 2012 at 07:03 PM
got our power back yesterday afternoon, have seen Teaneck DPW trucks out and about along with PSEG trucks/crews.
paul smith November 02, 2012 at 07:09 PM
here is the latest... http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/02/1154248/-NJ-turns-away-power-crews-that-aren-t-union-Not-exactly It's up to Decatur to own up or deny-
Celeste Scavetta November 02, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Likewise eileen... and since we have a powerstation here in NM, I swear we are allowing them to use us as a damn parking lot ONLY. Small parts of my town are coming back, but I was literally told I will be w/o power until 11/9 at 11:59 PM. 12 days later without power!!!! Now have a daughter home with the flu too boot. Can't even have a Calgon moment. There's always wine I guess... be well...
Celeste Scavetta November 02, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Seems they were sent to the Mall to get the power going there! But they park in NM. For joy!
paul smith November 02, 2012 at 07:16 PM
huh? what agenda? - just want to see if it is or is not true- jcp+l did not directly repudiate but I posted a link where it looks like yes, it is probably false. It's now up to the Decatur employees to confirm or deny and they will not comment. now lets keep our collective fingers crossed that the storm forecast for next week will divert offshore-
Arthur Bonzolli November 02, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Teaneck Resident - You acting like an ape is not helping. Everyone is in the same situation. You are NOT special and there are people really hurting who, believe it or not, have problems WAY worse than anything you have. Having power is no fun but you have to put things into perspective. People like you are the reason I have no faith in the human race. Instead of being supportive to all those hard working people and trying to be understanding during this tough time, you want to protest. You are a neanderthal.
Puppy Fresno November 02, 2012 at 07:36 PM
@Teaneck Resident - I'll be sure to play the worlds smallest violin for you. Do everyone a favor: Go down the Jersey Shore, walk right into the ocean and keep going.
SL November 02, 2012 at 07:42 PM
The way that Pseg is handling this is just too sloppy for words. This is unacceptable, there are no down trees in my area and I have been w/o power since 7:30pm Monday evening. I have several handicapped, elderly and babies in my building - nothing is being done by Pseg. I understand that this was the storm from hell - and I expected bumps in this road to recovery but going on 6 days with no power is unacceptable. We pay for a service we should receive it. Maybe if Pseg didn't have the monopoly of this area and we were able to pick carriers just like we can for cell service, then maybe they will move their asses a bit faster.
BellairBerdan November 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
paul smith, Gov Christie just said no one was turned away. Do you want to doubt him as well as all the power companies and unions involved in favor of trusting a talking head from " 'Bama" who sources a one single person for the story?
paul smith November 02, 2012 at 08:25 PM
@BellairBerdan- What's your problem- The Kos link I sent also indicated that it is not true- 2 companies were adamant that they had NO issues and the company that made the claim is not responding to comments, which speaks for itself. NJ.com picked it up and Christie stepped up as you mentioned. You can twist my comments all you want but now that we finally have people saying NO instead of the indirect response from JCP&L- it's great that this story was refuted and I am not in favor of restoring power to destroyed homes, empty lots etc. before those that are patiently waiting. And the talking head equiv from "bama that you mention is an nbc affiliate, which has a bit more integrity than faux news.
BellairBerdan November 02, 2012 at 08:35 PM
paul, I was just curious as to why you were so quick to believe the story without basis yet so slow to accept it was false after so many others weighed in. What a crappy thing to do. No one needs to twist your comments, they just have to scroll up and read what you wrote.
paul smith November 02, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Well, then my bad, basing my opinion on what was said by the JCP+L spokesperson (print and audio) and a credible (as in non partisan) news organization (yes, the 'bama station)- the first real repudiation came from the Kos as opposed to JCP&L. That said, we now have to prep for a possible Nor' easter. Stay safe and dry, and good luck.
Teaneck_Resident November 02, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Hey Authur- I take it you did not read down about the folks with new bornes and elderly parents that are in the cold. Why don'tthe you askthe them toand get reLthe and gobuy watch MTV? You are a perfect example of the type if people that just lay down and take things. I on the over hand refuse to be walked on my PSEG. please do us all a favor and go for a swim in the Hackensack river and fade away.
MP November 02, 2012 at 09:46 PM
http://www.northjersey.com/news/bergen/Non-union_power_crews_welcomed_in_NJ_to_help_restore_service_state_says.html
Art November 02, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Last year after Irene I urged here on the patch that Teaneck officials needed to initiate a class action suit against PSE&G. It was clear to me after we lost power not during the storm but 6 hours after. This happened when a PSE&G truck pulled up and turned off our grid. PSE&G then left and we did not see a truck in our area for 3 days until one showed up and did about 2hrs worth of work then left with power finally restored. All the time driving to Upper Saddle to work everyday where I saw PSE&G trucks everywhere. This is not how a utility company should behave. PSE&G should be made to undergo a stress test. So we can see how prepared they REALLY are to return power when these powerful stormes occur. Each year we hear lip service regarding all these improvements and our downtime is increasing. As a virtual lifelong Teaneck resident I would argue that PSE&G is getting worse at responding to these outages. A category 5 storm in 1979 came through and I saw trucks working to restore power 2 hours after the storm passed. We had power by the end of the day. What's the excuse with better technology and resources 30 plus years later? PSE&G likes to give lip service while at same time making sure their CEO makes just under 5M in total comp. Let's step up and make sure NJ officials make PSE&G perform a stress test done by independent people.Secondly, let PSE&G fight a class action suit to uncover their horrible response to another storm.
SG-Teaneck November 03, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I haven't had power since Monday, however I do have a battery operated radio. I have walked around my neighborhood to know what has happened to friends and family. I personally know people in NY AND NJ who have lost everything. It's hard to believe that people are so oblivious to the magnitude of this situation. A little education on how the power grid works may be enlightening.
MP November 03, 2012 at 01:25 AM
SG-Teaneck, AGREED!!!
Steve November 03, 2012 at 03:01 AM
So I leave my wife and kids at home 600 miles away to come here and work 16 hour days and live out of a suitcase.I'm working 16 hour days to restore your utilities and all that I get in return is. They're lazy, haven't seen trucks anywhere etc. take a walk around and look at the men who dropped everything and packed up and drove here to help, we're out here working every day. Just because you don't see a truck in your front yard doesn't mean no one is working.
MP November 03, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Steve--THANK YOU!! The people on here are the first to complain and the last to get out from behind their computer screens and actually do something! I know how hard you guys are working and if I were subjected to the arrogance you're facing from the people you're trying to help, you're damn right I would want to sit and stare at the wires! So thank you for continuing to work hard under less than ideal circumstances. Some of us actually do appreciate you!!
R I November 03, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Why is a part of fort lee STILL without electric! This is day 6! The condos on each side of our building has power - WHY NOT US! I have 2 yorkies and a cat and NO WHERE to GO! And YES I am also a sea bright resident with a home that I also can not get into-and yes I GET it with all destruction but where do we go?!!! And I need to get to my home in sea bright to shut off the water before the pipes freeze and cause more damage!
R I November 03, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Why is a part of fort lee STILL without electric! This is day 6! The condos on each side of our building has power - WHY NOT US! I have 2 yorkies and a cat and NO WHERE to GO! And YES I am also a sea bright resident with a home that I also can not get into-and yes I GET it with all destruction but where do we go?!!! And I need to get to my home in sea bright to shut off the water before the pipes freeze and cause more damage!
Art November 03, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Please enlighten and educate us on how a power grid works? Since you your flip comment indicates you have knowledge. Since you know about grids please explain what happened to me last year. When PSEG showed up for 30 minutes turned off the grid and disappeared with not a truck in my neighborhood for 3 days. Again, in Upper Saddle River there were trucks everywhere. PSE&G didn't show up for 3 days before doing 2hrs of work and then leaving. If you can explain how my ignorance of a power grid explains that then please let me know. Everyone knows about the devastation but that doesn't mean we should except incompetence and excuses from PSE&G. We have kids and elderly people in our care so this week was desperately anxious trying to get medicine and other necessities.
Art November 03, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Don't blame us for calling you names. If you had elderly and young people in your care and had to deal with no power for 5 plus days with no information from PSE&G except expect power by Nov 8th. All this after being told last year PSE&G was taking unprecedented measures to prevent prolonged outages. So don't blame the people who pay good money month after month for a service and expect and expect the same commitment back. Not to provide a 5M comp to a CEO. All this silly talk of how hard individual PSE&G service people and how there is are people who lost everything is nothing but a ridiculous smoke screen trying in effort to hide the incompetence of PSE&G.
Ken Raia November 04, 2012 at 01:26 AM
You are watching too much FOX noise channel.Try not to politisize everything .
doodles November 05, 2012 at 01:47 AM
i appreciate the crews that are not pse&g they responded hell lot faster then pse&g did.....and reply to Arthur Bonzolli you probably sitting in front of your fire place drinkin a scotch. Dont tell ppl we dont care and that we are lucky ...we know the devastion of south jersey and surrouding areas...so shut up stop picking on ppl for their opionions go back to drinking ya scotch and sitting in front of your fire place dumb ass. You the spoiled brat not us save the drama for your MAMMA ...Arthur Bonzolli !

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