TO THE EDITOR: I am the president of the Wood Pond Condo Association in The Hills.
I am writing to acknowledge the work that the Bedminster Township Committee has done to help residents address power issues that have plagued The Hills for the last several years.
Last Monday, the committee hosted a well-attended public information session with JCP&L. As they have done previously, our elected representatives convened this meeting to draw focus to the issues and hold the utility accountable for their performance.
While this well-advertised session was not the be all and end all to the continuing service failures, it is an important step along the path toward a solution.
I also wanted to recognize the ongoing work that Committeeman Colin Hickey has been doing in this regard. Not only is this a cause that he has been championing for the past several years, it is also a problem that he addresses in real time whenever there is an outage in Bedminster. Whether it is working the phones with JCP&L or providing status updates on social media, Colin is always there for us when the lights go out.
Most recently, my condo development suffered two separate outages that left entire buildings without power. Upon further inspection, JCP&L informed us that the failures stemmed from the underground connection, a.k.a., laterals, between their transformers and meters that serve the individual units, and that it was our responsibility to repair those lines.
Our condo board had to take extraordinary measures to restore power, including renting portable power trailers and hiring electricians to excavate and replace the lines. It came at significant expense, which would ultimately have to be borne by the residents.
At the time of the first outage, I reached out to Hickey for his help. Not content to take no for an answer, he researched the issue and informed us, and JCP&L, that he believed the responsibility for those failed lines lay solely with the power company. He continued to press the issue with JCP&L and work with us and the state BPU to help drive the matter to resolution.
I am happy to report that at last week’s meeting, JCP&L informed us that in fact those lines are their responsibility, and that we will be fully compensated for the repairs we undertook. Not only is this a big win for us, but also for all residents of The Hills.
I suspect that as the electrical infrastructure continues to age, these ‘lateral breaks’ will become more commonplace, and I am relieved that the burden for these repairs will be lifted off all our shoulders.
Kudos to the mayor, our Township Committee, and Committeeman Hickey in particular, for being our allies and advocates.
High Pond Road
Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.