Verona Mayor Dissatisfied with PSE&G Response

Sapienza dissatisfied with lack of communication from utility company after Hurricane Sandy.

Verona Township officials, police, fire, rescue squad and volunteers have been working tirelessly to get the town back on the grid, but officials say PSE&G may not be doing all it can to help them.

On Friday, Nov. 2, four days after Hurricane Sandy, about 70 percent of the town was still without power, according to Verona Office of Emergency Management Director Jeff Hayes.

“We are well ahead of other towns in terms of restoration,” said Hayes. “There are still wires on the street and we don't know if they are live. Whether its live or not, it’s live until someone tells us its dead.”

In one instance PSE&G came in and “reluctantly” told them a primary wire was dead, said Hayes. When the wire was confirmed dead, the town was able to remove the fallen tree and restore power to that particular street.

“That's what it comes down to,” said Hayes. “We are negotiating repairs with the power company and that shouldn't be. They should come in, fix the problem and move on.” 

Verona Mayor Frank Sapienza said he has spoken with a PSE&G executive vice president to let them know the township is dissatisfied with their service.

“I told them that the communication has been terrible and that needs to change,” said Sapienza. “He and his subordinates contacted me and I noticed six PSE&G trucks running around the neighborhood shortly after.”

“There is hope,” said Sapienza. “I apologize there has not been more action from PSE&G. We are working hard, so please be safe until the power comes back on.”

“PSE&G is in town working, and as of this morning pockets of town are coming back online,” said Verona Deputy Mayor Bob Manley Friday morning.

Below is a sampling of what readers are saying on Verona-Cedar Grove Patch. 

  • Michael J Petillo: At 3:00pm today, I took a COMPLETE tour of Verona which is STILL without power.
    I realize there area lot of troubled areas but not even ONE truck? You'd think they would have 1 or 2 trucks working from just a PR standpoint to give people hope that progress was being made. What about the Governor's edict of getting power to EVERYONE the #1 prority...
  • Jill Corrigan: I have to disagree with Mr. Petillo. I had to make several runs up and down Lakeside Ave. yesterday late afternoon, and saw large PSEG trucks working away each and every time.
  • Gm: In the cold and dark w/o power, I don't feel like PSE&G has me covered.

To read additional comments or add your own, please visit Verona.patch.com.

Concerned Citizen November 02, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Most of Verona have been without power since Monday. We're cold, our food is gone because everything in the refrigerator has been thrown away, we're wasting a lot of money, and what little gas is left in our cars, making day trips into other towns for food and resources; this is insane. Many residents have pets like reptiles and tropical fish that rely on heat sources and are freezing to death. Meanwhile, the residents of lucky streets like Hamilton Road off of Claremont Avenue have been holed up like Scrooge McDuck; not one of those residents have offered to run extension cords, invite neighbors in for warmth or anything. I am ashamed to even share a town with those people. Every day that I venture out to gather supplies, I look to see what people are doing to come together and I see nothing. I have lived in many areas of NJ and have never seen a more apathetic town than Verona. We've all been forced to drive into other towns to get provisions because this town has dropped the ball. What happens when gas runs out and we can't venture into other areas for food? If the power does not go back on soon, there are going to be people who have starved to death in their homes. People, get up off of your butts and knock on doors and make sure that your fellow neighbors are okay!! Offer what you can if you have extra. Verona should be ashamed of itself.
Jersey Joe November 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Where are the Verona shelters? Water and Ice giveaways? Bag lunches or canned food? Oh right... There is none... But you can wait for 2 hours to get a table at Verona Inn! Oh and PSE&G is a joke...
Jack Durschlag (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Verona has a warming station at the Verona Community Center. There have been no "guests" who have requested to stay there yet. Thanks
Barbara Gordon November 02, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I have seen only 5 trucks on my street all week! There are hundreds of utility vehicles in the Essex Green parking lot adjacent to Macy's. The effort to restore power does not appear to be an organized or well-communicated effort. Most residents are frustrated and disgusted today, Friday, November 2nd. Barbara Gordon - Forest Avenue
Jersey Joe November 02, 2012 at 08:59 PM
And what about the 3,000 gallons of gas at Sunoco on Pompton Ave that the town of Verona bought that's just sitting in the ground too... Look for the yellow school buses... guess it's residents fend for yourselves...
Jersey Joe November 02, 2012 at 09:00 PM
And let me guess... Like other "warming stations", it closes when it gets dark and temperature falls in the thirties...
Jessica November 03, 2012 at 12:19 AM
We don't have electric, but weI have hot coffee and tea. We have a grill that we can put the kettle on and we bought 100 cups and tons of instant coffee and tea to hand out. We're on Floyd Rd. Just send me an email if you need to warm up. roebuckjessica@aol.com
Fran Hopkins November 03, 2012 at 12:24 AM
I know this article is about Verona, but I'm feeling similarly neglected here in the South End of Cedar Grove (adjacent to Verona). I know that there are fewer than 1000 of us left without power here in CG, but for some reason this isn't making it any warmer or lighter in here! Any update for us longsuffering South Enders? Thanks.
Laura Lab November 03, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I know how you feel Fran. I'm in west orange but on the verona grid. i drove up forest ave yesterday looking for a PSE&G truck. there was a guy in a van talking to two women -although he would not respond to my question as to "when?" the women informed me they were hoping for power by tonight. we'll see....
DW November 03, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I agree with Ms. Hopkins. There is no power or PSEG trucks pass by Edgewater or Fort Lee area. We are being neglected as the trees were cleaned up in Fort Lee 1 day after Sandy left. I couldn't comment on Edgewater since I don't know if that big tree is still down by soldier field. If it is, our town worker should have removed it soon since I saw the workers were going around to clean up the trees.
Laura Lab November 03, 2012 at 02:49 PM
electric is back on on Cunningham drive near forest a venue!
Jersey Joe November 03, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Doesn't look like Verona/Cedar Grove priority according to latest PSE&G press release: -- Crews will be also be focusing on Irvington, West Orange, Montclair, East Orange, Bloomfield, Maplewood, Orange and Belleville this weekend.
P Marchetti November 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Becoming extremely disappointed in the way Verona is handling there power outages, Cedar Groves mayor seems to have everything under control for his town, i do see the mayor of verona had no problem getting power to his block. For the people that were lucky enough to have there power return in Verona, it seems to be that they all border other towns and are on a different grid. EPIC FAIL VERONA Saturday, Nov 3rd
Just me November 04, 2012 at 03:01 AM
No power or heat here on Linden. So disappointing! Trying to keep our kids, including a baby warm. Why is it taking forever for Verona's power to get restored!!!!!!!
Jersey Joe November 04, 2012 at 03:17 PM
New PSEG estimate for Verona is Tuesday, November 6th... Thanks town of Verona... Ugh
Tom Walker November 04, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I have been all over town since the day after the storm, and I only saw one PSEG truck. Wonder if we'll get their attention if we organize a 'Boycott Paying PSEG' town wide. When a few thousand people refuse to pay them and make it public, you'll see a reaction. They are clearly on their own priority schedule, and we're not on it. Folks, let's him them in their pocket book.
Jersey Joe November 05, 2012 at 04:16 AM
So I witnessed a couple trucks working on a pole near FN Brown School and 30 minutes later half of Verona lights up like the Fourth of July... It is an outrage of what little time was needed to get a very large percentage of power restored to the town... From what I could tell this small fix brought power to Woodland east to Bloomfield and Pompton south to Fairview. I am still appalled at what little the town did to help its residents, besides the outstanding performance by VPD, DPW and volunteer Fire and EMS... And I am really interested to see how school is tomorrow... Please hold your elected officials accountable and voice your opinion of how they handled the storm...


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