Power Nearly Fully Restored in Hopatcong, OEM Says
About 95 percent of power was restored to the borough Sunday night, shelter will close by Monday night.
The majority of power in Hopatcong was restored Sunday night nearly two weeks after Superstorm Sandy left the borough completely in the dark, according to the OEM.
Officer Robert Haffner, coordinator of the OEM, said that by about 11 p.m. Sunday night, 95 percent of the borough had power back.
Haffner said the high school shelter has started to break down and will be closed by Monday night.
He said that JCP&L crews are working to restore the remaining homes, and they have to go to each home individually. Residents are encouraged to call JCP&L at 888-544-4877 to report an existing outage.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo said the remaining homes should have power back by Monday.
Petillo said it took a while for the power to come back because in the first week, the crews were doing asssessments, bringing in workers from around the country, and were cleaning up the fallen trees. She said things were able to take off the second week once more workers showed up, but the power was delayed because they also had to rebuild the infrastructure.
"The homes were destroyed, trees were down, poles were snapping, transformers all over the ground," she said. "And our infrastructure was destroyed. They didn't just have to come into Hopatcong to put up fallen lines, they had to come in and restore that whole infrastructure."
In the past two weeks, residents have raised concerns about the lack of communication from borough officials during the storm response.
Petillo said the technology lost during the storm was the main reason for why officials couldn't send out frequent updates.
"It was a challenge because we lost all of our technology," Petillo said. "Our Internet was down, we were having problems with the phones and on the website. We kept being challenged because the usual manner in which we would communicate with the public was down."
Petillo said she was giving information out on the radio stations, and writing updates on the borough website. In the second week, the borough created a Facebook page where they listed several updates as well.
She also said the fire department was going door-to-door to relay the information to residents in person.
Petillo said officials are looking at ways to improve the communication.
"I think we can always do better," she said. "And we're looking at all these different things. How do you handle communication when all of your technology doesn't work, because we are so used to depending on that technology."
The borough's postponed meeting from last week will be held on Wednesday at the Hopatcong Municipal Building. Petillo said officials will have a report on Sandy.