Former Mayor on FH Power Problem

Michael Halfacre urges residents to write legislators to rally against JCP&L

A commentary on the post-Sandy power restoration problem in Fair Haven from former Mayor Michael Halfacre:

I would like to take a moment to comment on the frustration we all feel and the fact that this frustration is boiling over to blame for our local public officials.

I have some experience with power outages in Fair Haven. I can tell you that when you don’t have power, the mayor, council and administration don’t have power either. Of course they want power back. They are in constant contact with JCP&L.

But they don’t have access to any information about restoration efforts other than what JCP&L provides to them.

So lets be very clear, there is one and only one bad operator here, and it is JCP&L. They, and they only, have the ability to provide power to us. I can attest, from years of experience, that JCP&L not only is unable to effectively run a mass outage operation, but that they cover-up their inability to restore power by either outright lying to us or by obfuscating the truth with corporate double-speak so that nobody knows what they really said.

Remember, for days we were told that we would all be back up by Nov. 4. But we didn’t even see a truck for days after that. I can tell you that no amount of screaming moves JCP&L any faster. They simply do not care enough to provide the logistic support to the crews from other parts of the country to make the repairs.

That is why all those crews were seen sitting around — not because the mayor and council weren’t trying to get them out and working, but because JCP&L either wouldn’t or couldn’t tell them what to do. JCP&L can get away with this because they are utterly unaccountable.

Our efforts must be directed at JCP&L and the only thing that motivates them: their bottom line. Get the state law changed that governs their monopoly. Write the state legislature.

If you think the mayor or council of a 6,000-resident, (slightly more than) one- square-mile town can get First Energy — JCP&L’s parent company, which serves over 6,000,000 homes spread over 67,000 square miles from Ohio eastward and is #212 on the Fortune 500, and named one of the “10 worst companies” by a corporate watchdog — to come to Fair Haven quicker, you are mistaken.

Only profit motive can move this company.

greg tuorto November 10, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Well said, Mike. Thanks for shining a "light" on the reality of the issue.
Sal November 10, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Fair Haven former Mayor Michael Halfacre just like everyone else has a finger that he wants to point. Yet, people like him will Never actually get the point and might be incapable of rational thought and understanding. Thousands of electric lines are down. Hundreds of transformers have burned out. But Why has this happened??___That is what is important? We have this problem not because of JCPL, but instead because of home and property owners who grow THEIR trees near JCPL's power lines. The trees that fall DO NOT belong to JCPL. They belong to negligent property owners___we would not have this mess now. If it were not for Town Mayors and Town Councils that obstruct property owners and prevent them from cutting down trees. We would not be in the dark if Mayors and Town Councils used their governing powers to require home and property owners to trim their trees back enough so that they cannot fall onto JCPL's power lines. JCPL should bill the owners of every tree that fell for the damages and costs inflicted to JCPL transmission lines. Yes my power is out and it is not the Fault of JCPL___it is the fault of the Tree Owners and towns that prohibit tree removal or require special permission and approvals for tree removals.
Left to rot on Minton Lane .... Again November 10, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Mr Halfacre. The anger you are seeing from the residents of FH is because of the our mayors lack of communication to the residents of FH. The mayor of Holmdel left multiple reverse 911 calls to his residents multiple times a day. Our mayor has been invisible during this entire crisis. The fact that our former mayor is now attempting to protect him and this council is even more disturbing. I assure you that we the people of FH will be holding him and the council accountable for the total lack of communication that has occurred. If he had been more visible maybe we all could have attempted to make other arrangements. The residents will decide for ourselves the fate of the mayor and the council. Thanks for you comments though
Kim H November 10, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I think that we are all tired of being held hostage by JCP&L. This situation is nothing new to our residents just protracted by the statewide devastation. No matter what severity of storm our lights go out and we are always the last put back on! Maybe its time to look for a new power provider and let JCP&L fight for our dollar
Joan Hall November 11, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Our mayor could have communicated via the signs over the firehouse & in front of the muni bldg. it's the lack of communication that I find troubling.
Wake Up Call. November 11, 2012 at 12:48 AM
With all due respect, former mayor???? Where is the current mayor???? Is this mars??? And when he did make his infrequent statements they were statements that read like facts and were bogus. Even if he did get bs info from officials at jcp&l then why not come out and say as much. Tell us what went wrong, where communication broke down and so on. This, sir, is why people are furious.
Lucy Kalian November 11, 2012 at 12:49 AM
All of the comments are valid. You must remember that this was caused by a Hurricane -not a typical occurance here. Because we live in the USA, we are getting power back as soon as possible. Think of the numbers of households that need their power restored. If we were in South America, Greece, or the Middle East, our power would not be restored for MONTHS. Hooray to the advance teams that came from Ohio and Alabama.
Wake Up Call. November 11, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Last point. As Sal Sao above trees are a major problem. In cases where they are a precarious danger to a house or power line they need tombs trimmed or cut down all together. Sal If you have some on your property that you think fall into this category by all means trim and cut away! It's better to do that and be proactive and have a some abor society type be angry with you than to have a monster tree crush your home/car or worse (i.e hurt someone). Wind in most cases does not cause damage or kill.... problem trees do.
James Formisano November 11, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Maybe it's time to reconsider putting the power lines under ground?
lou almerini November 11, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I agree that JCP&L could not have performed more poorly in this crisis, but the same can be said of the current mayor. There was no communication. This period included Election Day - why wasn't the mayor at the pools meeting and talking to residents? Why have a mayor if the mayor is nowhere to be found when needed most?
Jeffery Carter November 11, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I know of one incident when a transformer in Red Bank during a 4 of July weekend failed when energized. The power company told us it was because it was old. When I came home the night it failed I saw my house lights glowing very low. I immediately went to the breaker to disconnect my appliances . When you have low voltage your appliances want power, they try to make it up by drawing more current. When you have all those households drawing higher current guess what happens. In my opinion the high current cooked the insulation on the Red Bank transformer. I left my lights on low voltage won't hurt them. At 10 pm that night when they were suppose to put power back on I heard a transformer die in the distance and everything went black. Then there was another time when our power was failing intermittently around the end of 2005 and 2006. I found on the Internet that a new power plant in Sayerville was put on line to deliver power to Long Island by cable. In my opinion the power company was fine tuning the control systems under a different load which may have caused the system to trip out safeties number of times. Also in light of this storm why do they not bury the power lines like they do in Europe? And think if this was a shut down of the national grid, why aren't more businesses backed up with generators especially gas stations? What good are generators without gas?
Kim H November 11, 2012 at 07:42 PM
i think that putting the power lines underground sounds like a great idea but what about the cost and the possibility of having to digging up your yard and having construction sites all over our town?
Kim H November 11, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Lucy K Thanks for the support. I understand that if this had happened in a foreign country that it would have taken months for the power to be restored but we are in the USA and should have the most state of the art equipment and not the out of date equipment, methods and procedures used by JCP&L


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