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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.

Cliff Lundin November 12, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Maxim Drive in Byram Cove is still out.
hopeful November 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM
The superintendent was able to send messages through the Alert Now system on nearly a daily basis. You'd think the mayor would be able to do the same. Nice that you created a Facebook page but how are we all supposed to know that? Poor excuses as usual from the people that are supposed to be running our town.
John November 12, 2012 at 04:49 PM
She is in full spin mode now, we haven't forgotten the truth though
Cathy Kelly November 12, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Byram bay rd still without power.
Rob Bond November 12, 2012 at 04:56 PM
It is not clear why the municipality "lost its technology" because of the storm. Traditionally communications technology (e.g., reverse 911 call systems) is located off-site (e.g., data centers with redundant capabilities) and can be administratively accessed remotely from any phone or Internet connected device. I hope this issue is being critically examined by the municipal government in its post-Sandy assessments.
Ggggary November 12, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Excuses, excuses, excuses. We lost that technology, and yet you created a Facebook page which requires the very technology that was lost??? Where I work in Bergen county the police spent the first few days after the storm driving up and down streets using their PA to tell people where they could go for shelter, water, and ice. Why could they have not done that, or something like it, in Hopatcong? As John said, Petillo is in full spin mode now, trying to make excuses for her lack of leadership.
Pam Pizarro November 12, 2012 at 05:25 PM
End of Hudson by Maxim still out. What exactly does "nearly, fully" mean?
Cathy Kelly November 12, 2012 at 06:32 PM
BYRAM BAY RD HAS POWER.
Stevie November 12, 2012 at 06:53 PM
As Joan Collins once said, “A lie is a terrible way to say hello.” Your Honor, you had continuous unrestricted access to all the technologies you needed to reach every resident of this boro. What problems were you having with the boro’s web site? It’s hosted on a server in Phoenix, Arizona, safely out of the way of this storm. If you can conduct your personal social activities on Facebook, what was stopping you from posting critical information needed by residents on a strictly (boro) business web site? Your statement that you were, ”writing updates on the borough website…” (in the first week) was also a lie. There was only one update on 11/4, followed by one update on 11/8, and one update on 11/9 that promised the next update on 11/12 (today) which hasn’t yet been posted. The information posted on 11/9 was wrong shortly after it was made available to the public. What are you waiting for? I’m not sure if we can count the number of times you’ve said that communications will “improve,” yet you appear to have disappeared for two days off during a state and local emergency. I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t say that I have a lot of respect for an elected leader who won’t lead. I’ll reserve the rest of my comments until we see your response to Chief Crosson Jr’s letter to you (Chief of Police for the Borough of Chatham, also a Hopatcong resident, posted earlier at patch.com).
Julie Linskey November 12, 2012 at 07:43 PM
It's unthinkable that most places down the shore, with all the problems and devastation that they had there, that most of their power was already on. 2 weeks in Hopatcong in unacceptable, do a better job.
AndyD November 12, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Wow - yes full spin mode now. Stevie above has it right about the web site. Sending people door-to-door would have been an excellent idea given the "loss of technology". It never happened in my neighborhood to my knowledge. As noted, the BOE did a great job of communicating.
Pam Pizarro November 12, 2012 at 09:36 PM
4:30, no update yet on the borough website.
Madeline McManus November 12, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Mayor Petillo spent many hours at the Red Cross center helping many residents with food , and shelter. Many local stores and restaurants , and chain stores contributed food. Mayor Petillo worked tirelessly at the shelter. Many people are stressed. Take a breath and be thankful that we are not living in Staten Island. Happy Thanksgiving to all
Ron Willis November 13, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Wow! What a wonderful opportunity to be of service to others the power outage provided. We had a choice to be part of the solution, or sit on the sidelines and WHINE. Special kudos to all solution driven folks out there. Well done!
Robin C. November 13, 2012 at 04:39 AM
I would like to thank The Hopatcong Police Department for keep us so well informed during this crisis. I would also like to thank our DPW, Fire Department Volunteers, CERT Volunteers, Dispatchers, Ambulance Squad, School Officials, Teachers, and many other volunteers for their exceptional service to our community! Regarding the mayor & the council, your lack of leadership, lack of communication, and excuses throughout this crisis have been inexcusable & demand accountability not a press release for publicity purposes!
Frazure November 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM
We than the mayor for her volunteer services, but we were lacking the leadership required of the mayor/council. Communication to the residents was practically non-existent unless one had a "working" smart phone. A hard copy update on a regular basis, posted at local business establishments would have been at least a minimal attempt at communication.
CkM November 13, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Oh wow, finally a comment from Bob Haffner?? During the crisis noone could get a hold of him, he had a volunteer answering his phone. Thanks goodness for the Sussex County OEM, they were wonderful!
Tammy November 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM
No disrespect Ms. McManus but which is it, was our Mayor working tirelessly at the shelter or working tirelessly to get power restored as her statements would lead us to believe? While it was a nice gesture to make an appearance at the shelter she was needed and should have been elsewhere.

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