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Days After Storm, Power Still Out for Many

Residents coping with no power, littered streets

Though it's been more than five days since the snowstorm knocked power out to more than 70 percent of West Orange, many residents are still left in the dark wondering when the lights will finally return. 

West Orange Fire Chief Peter Smeraldo Jr. told Patch Thursday that no more than 35 percent of residents remain powerless and that the township was working diligently to clean the township.

Many major roadways have been reopened and schools are back in session as of today.

"We're definitely better off than before," Smeraldo said. "There are areas that we are starting to see vast improvements in, there are areas that we're trying to put priorities on."

PSEG is reporting power has been of customers as of Thursday morning.

Many residents, though, say they still have not seen crews working on their streets, despite downed wires and fallen trees blocking roads.

Twitter is abuzz with residents asking PSEG to come to their neighborhoods. User @YaltaAllens tweeted Wednesday night, "Pls come to lincoln ave in west orange. We're the only street in our neighborhood w/o power. We're cold & hurting."

PSEG trucks and department of public works were spotted working on Nestro Road and Midro Way Wednesday afternoon. Residents in the area said it was the first day they had seen relief come to the area.

"It's the first time I see PSEG trucks," said West Orange resident Tom Fodice, who has been without power since the storm. He said the streets were virtually untouched for days. "It looked like Godzilla had stomped on the trees."

Resident Craig Waldron said in the 20 years he's lived in the area, he's never seen anything like this. "You could hear the branches cracking on Saturday," he said. Waldron said it's the first time he's seen crews by his house and was hopeful power would soon be restored.

Residents peered out their homes as bulldozers cleared the roads and PSEG trucks repaired downed wires. Others took the opportunity to clear their backyards in time for department of public works to clear debris. 

"It is what you make of it," said resident Eileen Quigley as she cleared her yard of fallen branches. "Candlelight dinners with my husband are not so bad."

She said the nights have been cold but she's been huddling by the gas fireplace.

Business administrator Jack Sayers said Tuesday the road to full recovery would be a but assured residents the township was working closely with PSEG to restore power as quickly as possible.

"They're spread as thin as we are, maybe even thinner ... they are inundated."

Tom G. November 03, 2011 at 06:11 PM
I saw a convoy of about 20 power trucks rolling down Prospect Ave. this morning.
Richard November 03, 2011 at 06:58 PM
This does not add up. How can 35% of West Orange residents be out of power, while PSEG is simultaneously reporting that 96% of their customers are back online and that only 21,000 in their entire area are still dark? In fact, PSEG's outage map says that only 501 - 2,000 West Orange customers are out of power. Did West Orange's population drop by 20,000 or so in the last few days? Or is PSEG just shamelessly lying because they told Christie they would have 95% back by Thursday? I know that there has been no change in my neighborhood in the past few days. PSEG now tells me restoration should be Friday, midnight. I'm not holding my breath.

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