Medford officials respond to concerns expressed by residents regarding restoration of electricity by Atlantic City Electric
Since the night of the storm, the Medford Office of Emergency Management has reported utility emergencies involving AC Electric equipment to their call center. Return communication from AC Electric had been sporadic at best, which has left Township officials unable to reply to resident’s inquiries who have no power and are unable to make contact with Atlantic City Electric on their own.
Despite numerous attempts, Medford Township Manager Kathy Burger did not speak with company officials until Thursday, who only just today are accommodating her request to establish a “comfort station” for residents in need of water, ice and charging stations.
The lack of communication and coordination with emergency personnel is also hindering Medford’s ability to begin the clean-up and restoration process, as no Township personnel can touch trees that are entwined with potentially live wires.
Said Burger, “ We understand and empathize with our residents that are still impacted by the loss of electricity. Many here in Medford, including our own staff, have wells and septic systems, which has exasperated their living conditions as we enter the fourth day since the storm. Our emergency services personnel, with assistance of several local businesses and community organizations, are attempting to assist residents with water, ice and charging stations, while we plead with Atlantic City Electric officials to expedite their work in tree removal and line repairs.”
An Atlantic City Electric representative met with Burger & OEM Coordinator Lt. Robert Dovi this afternoon and provided the following explanation: “ Our response in restoring electricity to property owners was compromised, because unlike most storms, the backbone of our transmission system was also damaged; even worse than Hurricane Sandy. A number of infrastructure locations in Gloucester County, near our operational hub, were damaged. Therefore, our crews were assigned to first work on substations and transmission lines before beginning work on neighborhood tree removal and distribution line restoration.”
Their Tabernacle substation, which feeds Medford was down until this morning. Until that was done their crews could not come into the neighborhoods. Crews are in Medford now, so residents should get electricity back no later than Sunday evening.
AC Electric has made water available at the Indian Mills Fire House, 48 Willow Grove Road in Shamong.
Medford EMS is expected to announce shortly that residents can visit their headquarters at 20 Jackson Road (near the intersection of Stokes Road) to cool off in air conditioning and charge electronics.
Residents who wish to contact AC Electric and are unable to do so via their Customer Service department should contact the NJ Board of Public Utilities, which is investigating AC Electric’s response according to NJ.com.