The day after numerous electrical crews from as far away as Wisconsin were spotted making repairs to downed lines and poles in Red Bank and Shrewsbury, the number of residents without power in both towns has dropped substantially.
According to Jersey Central Power and Light's most recent outage map, 567 Red Bank customers remain without power in Red Bank. In Shrewsbury the number of JCP&L customers has fallen to 118. That's a large drop from just a day ago when more than twice that many Red Bank customers were without power and as many as 753 Shrewsbury customers were without power.
Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey directly nearly two weeks ago. Already being recognized as the most destructive storm to ever hit the state, Sandy caused massive damage to the Jersey Shore and caused outages throughout the state. The day after Sandy's arrival, both Red Bank and Shrewsbury were reporting near-total blackouts throughout town.
Over the course of the last two weeks, power restoration has been a slow process. JCP&L said it was ordered to follow Gov. Chris Christie's mandate to restore as many residents to power as soon as possible. That means problem spots - those areas with downed poles and wires, destroyed transformers - had been isolated and left for later. Even today, Saturday, several areas of downed wires remain down, unattended to for nearly two weeks.
Just days after Sandy's departure, JCP&L said most of its customers would get power back by last Wednesday. Those areas with massive destruction would likely not see completed repairs until today, Saturday. Though both Red Bank and Shrewsbury were quite lucky compared to shore towns just a couple of miles away, the damage was apparently significant enough here to delay power restoration for some time.
Now, with Christie's mandate that New Jersey residents should see their power restored by Sunday, work, locally, at least, has started in earnest. On Friday afternoon and evening, multiple crews were seen working together in areas like Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank and Spruce Street in Shrewsbury. Though JCP&L's fractured crews were able to test lines and restore power to neighborhoods not significantly impacted by Sandy, repairing primary lines and poles requires multiple crews and truck lifts all working at the same time.
That wasn't something JCP&L could offer until now.
The extended outages haven't sat well with most residents and affect business owners. In Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna had harsh words for JCP&L, saying they've failed to communicate. He's also called for other mayors to express their frustrations with the utility.