Less than a month into his term as Mendham Township’s mayor and Rick Merkt has already faced down Jersey Central Power and Light. At the last meeting of the Mendham Township Committee, Merkt said he took part in a meeting of the mayors of Morris County and the Board of Public Utilities.
“To be candid, JCP&L was roundly criticized,” Merkt said. “However and perhaps more importantly, the meeting did result in a number of ideas from the mayors.”
Much of the criticism stemmed from the utilities response to Hurricane Sandy and the poor communication surrounding their repair efforts. This meeting, according to Merkt, was to generate ideas on how to avoid missteps in the future.
According to Merkt some of those ideas included detailed circuit maps of the grid system which would allow for faster diagnosis of power problems.
“Circuit maps would allow our OEM coordinators to act as guide dogs,” Merkt said.
This would speed up the repair process by helping point crews in the right direction. Another idea was an infrastructure assessment process that would help identify equipment that was outdated. Specifically, identifying and replacing aged power poles, Merkt said.
Despite the free exchange of ideas, Merkt said improvements are unlikely to be immediate.
“Its optimistic to think that JCP&L will improve anytime soon,” Merkt said. “But with pressure from the Board of Public Utilities and municipalities I think we can see some stuff beginning to happen within the next year.”