Hey Guv! Here’s a business assistance plan: Get the frickin power on!

3-5 Days Without Power Is Devastating to Seasonal Businesses

Hey Governor Christie!   Even though it makes you seem like a Democrat, I appreciate where you’re coming from with your Hurricane Irene Business Assistance

Those $500K lines of credit while waiting for insurance proceeds will come in handy for many, but let’s be real, this is a subsidy to the insurance companies.  Issue an executive order that the insurance companies must pay the interests on those loans and the claims will be paid faster.

If those banks we bailed out were lending, we wouldn’t need this program.  I don’t expect you to fix that problem until you are President.  Thanks for stepping in now.

By the way, Governor, your did a great job this weekend.  You still are.  The business assistance plan is needed, and it is wonderful that the Lt. Governor is out at the shore campaigning for people to come back for the rest of the season (rest of the week.)


I know you have a lot on your plate. Did I mention that you’re doing a great job?  I also know you’re talking to CEO’s of the public utilities companies, because you said so during one of your briefings before I lost power.  When you’re talking to the CEO of First Energy, that guy in Ohio, tell him there are thousands of seasonal businesses and seasonal employees serviced by his JCP&L subsidiary that are counting on this week and this coming weekend for a large portion of there annual income.

In Highlands, the small town on the Shrewsbury River where I live, we have 23 restaurants and all of their employees who would rather be earning this week than applying for loans or unemployment benefits.

The lack of information coming from JCP&L to the public is unacceptable:

Jersey Central Power & Light JCP&L is continuing to experience power outages due to the effects of Hurricane Irene. We are assessing damage and anticipate that many of our Customers will be restored in the next several days. In areas with more extensive damage, restoration is expected to continue throughout the week. Please treat all downed wires and damaged electrical equipment as live and dangerous. If you have not already reported your electric service as being out, call 1-888-544-4877.Time Posted: Aug 29, 2011 9:27 AM   

That a lowly blogger can find out that JCP&L is telling OEM that we’ll be without power for 3-5 days before the main stream press knows is an indictment of both the press and the utility.

It seems to me that JCP&L’s response to outages has been wanting the last few years.  I appreciate the magnitude of Irene, but I wonder if they’d be doing a better job if they weren’t owned by an Ohio company.  Two business owners mentioned to me today how much better the service was before JCPL’s Belford location closed.  We’d wonder about that less, and make less noise about it, if the lights go in the bayshore today.

3-5 days without power at this time of  year is devastating to seasonal businesses and their employees.  It’s like pulling the plug on the week before Christmas for Macy’s.

Governor, you got the Jets-Giants game switched to tonight, but no one will be watching the game at bars in Highlands.

I know you can influence that guy in Ohio’s priorities.  Please do so.  Monmouth County businesses need the lights on.

Posted: August 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Highlands | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

14 Comments on “Hey Guv! Here’s a business assistance plan: Get the frickin power on!”

  1. mike halfacre said at 4:45 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    Well said, Art.

    The total lack of responsiveness by JCP&L should be embarrassing to the company. Many in Fair Haven, myself included, are still without power, and without a single truck in sight.

    As I said when I emailed JCP&L representatives yesterday afternoon, after getting a frankly patronizing communication from them, we are being treated like we live in a Third World country.

    Heads need to roll.

  2. Nancy said at 4:58 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    Not only can we not work, but our refrigerators and freezers are filled with food that must now be thrown out. Thousands of dollars of inventory will be lost, not to mention loss of important summer sales in an already terrible economy….a week of work – lost!

  3. Ed said at 4:59 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    Art- 1-What do you want JCP&L to focus more time & energy, getting the power back on or writing press releases? I fully empathize with seasonal businesses that need power, but bitching about the speed of updates will not increase the speed of repairs. 2-It’s 2011. I’m more surprised when the press beats the bloggers to the punch.

  4. ArtGallagher said at 5:06 pm on August 29th, 2011:


    1)You offer a false choice. I want them to do both. The pr staff is not out climbing any poles.

    2) Frankly, and sadly, I am too. The press waits for the press release and rewrites it. I work the phones, etc,and post press releases verbatim so my readers know what they are.

  5. Middletown Conservative said at 6:14 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    JCP&L doesn’t have to be responsive. They are a monopoly. Where else can we go?

  6. Russ said at 6:31 pm on August 29th, 2011:


  7. Scott Sipprelle said at 9:36 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    We are also powerless (literally and figuratively) over here in Mercer County. There is another issue at work here: our communities and nation are increasingly utterly unprepared for the unexpected. In my case, we have identified the culprit for our power loss: an aging utility pole snapped in two as a result of winds and dead tree branches falling from overhead. In other cases flood waters- in repeatedly flooded areas- have swamped critical equipment. Or, an overburdened transformer blew out. Our public infrastructure is decaying as we mindlessly gorge ourselves at the public trough and fritter away the nation’s prosperity. This storm could have been much worse. When are we goingto wake up and start spending the people’s dwindling money on the things that really matter?

  8. mike halfacre said at 10:26 pm on August 29th, 2011:


    You are correct. I have been fighting with JCP&L since my 38th day as Mayor, when our power went out for a week. No upgrades in FH in 45 years, add in central air, bigger houses, etc and it is a recipe for disaster.

  9. Scott Sipprelle said at 10:43 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    @Mike- you are a very, very good Mayor 🙂

  10. Al Siano said at 10:53 pm on August 29th, 2011:

    Have we gone backwards in utilities being ahead of the issues and responsive from a management and planning perspective? It seems our power utility is not poised to be in a situation to be any more responsive than they are right now.

    The empowering question is how are power utilities motivated? Answer that and fix it.

    Why are there so few private electrical contractors and tree-experts helping in this kind of a situation? Sure it takes coordination, however there are electrical contracting firms and tree-experts that can help if the plan, if money and coordination were there. Where are the line crews from Central Pennsylvania and other states that have not been impacted? They used to come in and our crews used to go and help them. Money?

    There was a time when the term Preventative Maintenance had been taken more seriously for power network RELIABILITY. Today it seems the bottom line drives the utilities more than ever; the businesses and the community can wait, after all, what other choice do you have?

    Preventative maintenance reduces outages even in the event of weather like we just experienced. How? We know that in a storm the weaker tree limbs and trees fall, the power utilities forestry teams know this in great detail, it is nothing new to know! The issue is about acting on what you already know. Intently cutting the trees away and inspecting the trees around power lines with consistent frequency GREATLY REDUCES failure events. Oh but there is the catch, Preventive Maintenance cost the utility more to do with improved thoroughness. The other option is to fix it when it breaks, that may take more time and put people out, however it is more financially frugal.

    There is another perspective to view. The WaWa on route 36 and Appleton in Leonardo called in a nice big generator on a trailer. They acted upon their own freedom to act. Sears in Middletown sold-off an emergency shipment of generators to serve customers and profit too. These actions I applaud. That’s American business. Perhaps we all need to think the same way as Red Roof Corporation and Sears Roebuck? Perhaps we need generators and a plan. The state may need a plan to with generators installed (or something) to keep the traffic lights working on the highways. Then some time down the road we can find a way to work with and motivate JCP&L to do their very best – for us and not so much themselves.

    My guess is things can and will get better with the right pressures and motivations applied. Things will not get better if we all forget about it as soon as the lights go on. This was not the worst weather disaster that ever hit us . We can consider this a warning and be better prepared next time and there will be a next time.

    I admit I never purchased a generator and now I may have ample justification. We may still buy an American Made power generator. Go out and stimulate the economy and be ready, buy a generator. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for any power utility, even in my portfolio; which is another story all together.

  11. speedkillsu said at 7:19 am on August 30th, 2011:

    We know what’s Really important here ,that we fund Abbott districts so our politicians can keep us all as tax slaves .

  12. Rick Ambrosia said at 9:52 am on August 30th, 2011:

    We have live wires down in front of our house and JCPL finally came yesterday to put out cones and baby sit them. A pick up truck was in our driveway the entire night watching the downed wires. I wonder what they get paid for watching wires. Anyway, when I asked if there was any way they could tell me when the power might be on, they said they were hoping this week…but it may go into next week. We’ve been without power since Saturday night, so if it goes until Monday, then that’s 9 days.

    Nice work if you can get it.

  13. TheDigger said at 12:31 pm on August 30th, 2011:

    As a conservative, I strongly believe in self-reliance, rather than government.

    If you are a small business, and need power, why not buy a generator and have an electrician install a transfer switch so you can run critical circuits.

    My house has two generators, each of which can run 6 identified critical circuits (refrigerators, TV’s computer, FIOS box, lighting, AND sump pump). We lost power for about 7 hours. Yet, we functioned without a problem (took about 15 minutes to properly connect the generator and start it up.

    That being said, JCP&L is an unmitigated disaster, especially at providing accurate information.

    Their electric distribution network needs some serious redesign, pole transformers which can withstand rain (our local pole transformer seems to go out quite often).

    Poles and wires coming down to trees and vehicle collisions are a little harder to predict, but obviously a better planned maintenance of trimming nearby trees is critical.

  14. Anthony Del Pellegrino said at 9:34 pm on August 30th, 2011:

    Thanks for bringing up a point that has really irked me. Although I am a former Monmouth County resident and now live in Ocean County, I can safely say that it is obvious both counties, as well as those in the rest of the state, suffered from an incredible lack of communication with the victims of Irene in its aftermath. A senior citizens community here was without power from the early hours of Sunday morning, until Tuesday and beyond.

    None of them were told by anyone what was going on. None of them were told when to expect their power to go on and if it might be for so long that they would best temporarily relocate. Many seniors do not use cell phones and lack advanced communication tools, but even those who do have cell phones and such, eventualy run out of power andf therefore their communication capabilities.

    These people were literally kept in the dark.

    Now I won’t lay the blame for this on the Governor. Afterall, there are County governments and even more directly, there are municipal governments. In the case of the senior community in questiuon, they even have a community management team. All of these lines of defense come before the state government, yet ALL of them failed the people.

    This was a total lack of proper, effective, leadership and the failure should serve as a lesson that allows the government chain of command to not fail the citizenry they serve and answer to.