Storm drops nearly 9 inches of snow, knocks out power

Hardyston. The National Weather Service reported 8.7 inches of snow fell in Hardyston Township, but down trees closed roads and knocked out power to thousands throughout the area.

04 Dec 2019 | 11:41

The season’s first winter storm that dropped 10.5 inches of snow in the area, closed area schools for two days left thousands without power on Sunday and Monday.

The National Weather Service reported 8.7 inches of snow falling in Hardyston.

Jersey Central Power & Light reported at 11:21 a.m.. Wednesday that 1,075 customers in Franklin were without power, plus 847 in Ogdensburg, 594 in Hardyston, 442 in Lafayette and 148 in Hamburg.

As of 11:21 a.m. Wednesday, Sussex Rural Electric reported that 6,681 were still without power. Hardyston had 121 members without power and 223 were powerless in Lafayette.

At about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sussex Rural reported that almost all its members were without power, as the utility’s transmission lines were taken down by falling trees, which prevented workers from energizing substations.

Cooperative officials said restoring power may be a 2-3 day process.

After the storm, State Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths urged Gov. Phil Murphy to get behind a state Board of Public Utilities proposal to allow power companies to trim trees around power lines without having to go through bureaucratic red tape.

Enough is enough,” Oroho said. “Downed trees are usually the cause of most of these outages, so it makes sense to allow utility companies to trim back branches and vulnerabilities that may threaten electric service.”

The bipartisan legislation sponsored by all three legislators would authorize an electric public utility to use all reasonable methods to maintain and remove hazardous vegetation. The bill would also establish a municipal program to develop effective strategies to implement the provisions of this bill. The bill does not allow utilities to clear cut vegetation that does not interfere with power lines.

“Blackouts are more than a frustrating inconvenience,” Space said. “Lost power can quickly become a life or death situation for those who depend on medical equipment for survival.”

The Assembly version of the bill passed the Assembly last December and the bill was scheduled for a full Senate vote earlier this year, but was pulled when the governor’s office expressed concern.

“Losing electricity during heavy winter weather was a reoccurring problem last year, and our constituents are frankly fed up,” Wirths said.