TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The current and recent storm systems moving through are prompting New Jersey officials to look into the protocols that utility companies use to get power restored.
Gov. Phil Murphy asked for an investigation after winter storms Quinn and Riley left thousands without power, mostly in the northwestern portions of New Jersey, some for more than ten days.
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso points out his investigators will review dozens of utility storm protocols the board implemented following Superstorm Sandy, and assess whether they were followed during the twin storms.
“We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s always lessons to be learned,” said Fiordaliso.
The first storm knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers. The second packed a wallop, with 320,000 homes and businesses out at one point.
One key element the BPU will review is mutual aid assistance between the state’s four utility companies.
“Before any utility sends any crews out of state, and I have no indication that they have, that they help one another, they help their sister utility,” said Fiordaliso .
For example, Public Service Electric and Gas Company sent more than 200 people to the Jersey Central Power & Light service area in northern and central New Jersey that were hardest hit.
BPU will also examine vegetation management, dispatching methods, as well as the utilities’ communication with their customers, to determine what went wrong.
As part of its process, the Board will hold five public hearings across the state, including three in the JCP&L service area.