NJ - Power outages hit areas of Parsippany

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Township officials concerned about speed of response by GPU

By Jon Zlock Daily Record PARSIPPANY  Its safe to say that Irwin and Cheryl Cohen had a rough couple of days earlier this week. Irwin, 56, had just undergone a kidney transplant  an organ that wife Cheryl donated. They left the hospital Saturday, three days after surgery and returned home to Glacier Hills.

Just 48 hours later, their power went out  as it did for everyone in that section of the township  for the whole day.

"It was uncomfortable," Cheryl Cohen said. "We were without air conditioning, and we had a whole freezer and refrigerator full of food that our friends had donated to us. We were afraid it was going to go bad. We had other concerns, too. We had doctors appointments all day. We were exhausted. We couldnt get comfortable."

Irwin Cohen said he and other Glacier Hills residents lost power for most of the day Monday, as well as most of the early morning Wednesday. He said the development suffers, at times, from old wiring. Even the wind can knock the power out, he said.

"What they told me is the same thing they tell everybody," Cohen said. " Were sending someone. They say that to pacify people."

Tree falls on wire

Early Wednesday morning, the outage didnt stop in the Glacier Hills area of the township. Two water pump stations  one the so-called Farney booster, the other one on Park Road  lost power when a tree fell on a wire at GPU Energys Greystone substation in Morris Plains shortly after midnight, an official said Wednesday. In addition, a sewage pump off of Vail Road lost power as well, along with portions of Powder Mill Road.

As a result, about 1,000 customers lost power, said GPU spokesman Ron Morano.

"We were out there right away," Morano said. "But what happened at the substation is we had no way of re-routing the power. Basically, the customers were brought back on by 3, 4 and 7 a.m."

Sunday nights scattered thunderstorms left the townships main water building off of Pumphouse Road without power for more than 12 hours, township officials said. Although back-up generators kicked on, officials said they are concerned about response time and communication with GPU. The concern is the problem will get worse before it gets better.

"It cant all be trees and squirrels," said Mayor Mimi Letts. "Its not just in Parsippany. This is all over. This is serious. This is real."

Morano said the company is working to rectify the problem.

"We know there is a heightened sensitivity," Morano said. "We take these concerns very seriously."

Morano said the company is looking to implement a number of plans in the coming months, among them, 24-hour trouble crews and tree trimming around circuit boxes. In addition, GPU officials said they will be reporting back to area townships in the future.

Still, there is a long way to go, agreed Art Vespignani, the townships director of municipal utilities.

"The (outages) dont seem to be stopping," Vespignani said.



-- Doris (reaper1@mindspring.com), July 20, 2000

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