For the first time since Hurricane Sandy left Rumson's West Park steeped in water, debris and ruined homes, more light has been shed on the streets and power situation — just a little more.
After some prodding, persistence and communication, the storm-blackened street lights are now on along South Ward Avenue at Washington and Grant avenue, but still off at Lincoln.
A JCP&L truck was spotted in the area yesterday and the lights went on Tuesday evening.
Having been somewhat in the dark for nearly four months, four transformers having been downed with trees on South Ward during the storm, West Park residents, assuming the issue was being handled, recently started growing weary of the darkness and wondering when there would be more light.
“The neighborhood has been so dark and there are only a handful of people living in West Park, so it was a little scary," said South Ward Avenue resident Katie Johnson. “There are a few lights on in the neighborhood, but not enough to make you feel safe when walking your dog.”
So, Johnson and neighbors started asking around to officials and Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) about when they could expect to see some light at night in the nearly pitch black neighborhood streets.
Johnson, thinking that all along someone had been working on a fix for the situation, called JCP&L to (she thought) again report the outage and, she said, personnel there told her it was the first they'd heard of it.
Poor communication at JCP&L has been a longstanding gripe of both residents and officials in New Jersey, especially since Hurricane Irene last summer and, now, Sandy.
West Park neighbors then pressed borough administration for some answers.
“At the Mitigation meeting, (Borough Clerk) Tom Rogers assured residents they had notified JCP&L of the lack of lights," Johnson said. "But it wasn’t until someone posted on the West Park Pride Facebook page that they came started to work on some of the lights.”
Now things are a bit brighter at night on the streets. As for why the fix took so long, no one has answers yet and there are more street lights to be repaired.
JCP&L officials were not available as of press time. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.