Post Hurricane Sandy Update from Hamilton Township – Friday, November 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM
This is an updated post-Hurricane Sandy report from Hamilton Township (Mercer County, NJ) as of Friday, November 2nd at 4:00 PM.
As township officials continue post-Hurricane Sandy recovery operations, we thank residents for continued patience and cooperation considering the severe damage this storm caused our area.
Power Restoration Progress
Early today, PSE&G representatives reported that 2,200 Hamilton customers remained without power, which is down from a peak of 27,000 Hamilton customers who were without power during the height of Hurricane Sandy.
Residents Still Without Power
Residents still without power should contact PSE&G directly at 1-800-436 -7734 (or PSEG) to report the issue.
Also, as the number of Hamilton customers without power continues to decrease, remaining outages anticipated to require the longest time to resolve involve individual “feeder drops” or connections directly to one, individual property (rather that portions of the system that might restore power to neighborhoods or multiple residents).
PSE&G has forecasted to have virtually all impacted customers restored within the next seven to 10 day, but that “the majority of customers will be restored before then.” However PSE&G states that some isolated instances involving individual flooding or downed lines may take slightly longer.
Community (Private) Resources
Although Hamilton Township government cannot endorse private organizations (thus all individuals must consider private, non-government organizations and their offered services at their own risk), township officials have been apprised that some private or non-profit organizations such as the Hamilton Area YMCA (offering shower facilities and Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on East State Street Extension (offering ability to charge cell phone or computers) have offered private assistance.
Fallen Power Lines
Both PSE&G and Hamilton Township urge residents to STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Resident should consider all lines that are down to be energized or “live” and not approach, drive over and do not touch anything that might be in contact with a downed power line. Residents should report downed power lines/wires to PSE&G directly at 1-800-436 -7734 (or PSEG) and provide the nearest cross street of the downed line/wire.
Fallen Trees Tangled with Power Lines
Also, as a reminder, for fallen trees that may be tangled or attached to power lines/wires and in or alongside public roads, PSE&G must address these issues and, in most cases, will cut and remove the trees. In instances where Township crews may cut and remove these trees in or alongside public roads, PSE&G must first ensure the lines are de-energized or “dead”; and PSE&G must directly inform Township officials of a power line/wires status. Again, residents should STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES and consider all lines that are down to be energized or “live”.
Consumer Fraud/Price Gouging/Scam Protections
Hamilton Township has listed several resources on the Township website (www.HamiltonNJ.com) and Facebook account which related to hotlines that residents can call regarding any type of consumer fraud, price gouging and scam protection issues. These phone numbers include:
State Consumer Affairs Temporary Hotlines Activated Due to Power Outages (800-242-5846)
State Division of Consumer Affairs (for Price Gouging) (862-209-0130 or 973-220-3474)
Also, residents should remain aware and vigilant of scam phone calls in which the callers claim to be from PSE&G and ask if the neighborhoods power is out, or instances in which individuals “claim” to be Township officials seeking to enter residents’ homes. Residents should demand ID/identification of anyone who claims to work for a utility company, a government or wishes to enter residents’ homes or properties. Hamilton residents should feel free to contact the Hamilton Township Non-Emergency Police phone number at (609) 581-4000 or, in an emergency, call 9-1-1.
Additionally, residents should ask any contractor for their state license (13VH number) and insurance, to ensure that the contractor is licensed and ensure that any electrical devices are certified.
Storm Debris Removal
As reported previously, Township crews continue to work across the entire community in removing storm-related debris (such as fallen trees, limbs and brush that are in or alongside public roads) in an effort to make all roads passable. We appreciate and ask for residents continued patience as the effort to remove all storm-related debris is a significant undertaking, especially when considering that Hamilton Township is nearly 40-square miles in size.
Because of the severity of Hurricane Sandy’s impact and the immediate need to address fallen trees, limbs, brush and other storm-related debris, Hamilton must delay the beginning of the annual fall leaf curbside recycling program. However, residents who desire to remove leaves immediately can bring leaves to open drop-off locations (listed on the Township Website under the “News” section) or bring the leaves to the Ecological Facility. As a reminder, contractors/private businesses are prohibited from using leaf drop-off locations and are unable to use the Ecological Facility for free (as residents are able to). As soon as progress is made in clearing storm debris, Hamilton will announce a revised curbside leaf collection schedule.
Food Health Safety
In addition to Health Inspections that Hamilton Township is requiring for any restaurant or food establishment that lost power, residents with questions about any specific establishment can directly contact the Township Health Division at (609) 890-3828.
Storm-Related Costs to Local Government
As of yesterday, township officials estimate a cost of nearly $200,000 of additional costs to the government in response to Hurricane Sandy – a conservative estimate that is expected to increase with ongoing recovering and clean-up efforts.
Although Mercer County (including Hamilton Township) was not listed in the original Federal Disaster Area Declaration, should this designation change, Hamilton Township will post any FEMA-related information on our Township website and Facebook account.