Your Power Outage: What's The Hold Up?
Crews are quickly filling the city being staged at Monmouth Park and more lights are coming on every day. But, what about your house?
You've seen the crews pouring into Monmouth Park with license plates from all over the US. And you've seen the lights come on at your neighbor's house. So why is it taking so long to get your bulbs lit?
One answer could be New Jersey's strict rules.
"It's your regulations that are hurting you," said lineman John Friman of Texas based energy company, Oncor. "We can't run a line across a parking lot with out police being there. Every state is different, but it's the regulations you have here that are hurting you. We could have had this job done already."
Friman and the crew he works with travel the country when disaster strikes and stay until the lights come back on. He's been in the business for 34 years, but never worked in New Jersey, and definitely not worked through freezing temps during a hurricane. He and another lineman named Carlos left Texas on Monday and first arrived in Maryland to work, before they were reassigned here.
The spent their first couple of nights in Oceanport sleeping in their truck, which seemed a better option than the Storm Services bunk units, trailers that sleep up to 30 workers. Tonight, he said, they will gratefully sleep in a hotel.
He points across the parking lot at a fleet of government utility vehicles - row after row after row - parked inside the gates of Monmouth Park. All these trucks, which just rolled into town, he said, work on transmission lines. Once crews arrive they head to a central tent and are briefed on regulations and the plan of attack.
This lineman couldn't tell us just when our porch lights would come, but he did say we would see more progress with the arrival of these most recent crews.
We asked Friman just how electrical crews were being received in town. He said some crews said, "People hadn't been too nice," but his experience was different. "I had somebody leave boxes of Dunkin' Donuts in our truck to say, 'thank you'. That makes a difference," he said.
"It's hard though," he said, "I've been on both sides of fence."
If there is some more indication of how residents feel about the nomadic electricians, who have come to serve our tiny towns, it's just outside the racetrack. Hanging on the fence of the JCP&L staging center are two banners, made by the White family of Oceanport and their friends. One reads, "Jersey Strong" and the other "Thank U 4 Your Help!"