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More Accountability, Communication Eyed Post-Sandy

Chester Township Mayor Bill Cogger addressed breakdowns in storm's aftermath.

The power is back on for most and residents in Chester Township in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and at Tuesday's meeting of the Mayor and Council there was one thing on everyone's mind. 

Where do we go from here?

Mayor Bill Cogger addressed several concerns from residents that Chester Township did not communicate effectively before, during or after the storm.

"We had some information on our website before the storm but I think that was inadequate," Cogger said. "And we lost our server and access to all of our emails."

Going forward, Cogger said by Dec. 1, Chester Township will be moving its server to a cloud-based system. Typically, cloud-based computing is a way to increase capacity and function as a computer backup. It allows storage of data to a remote, cloud-based server.

"Going forward that will not be an issue again," Cogger said. 

Cogger also elaborated on measures the township did take to inform the public including an updated Twitter feed, posted signs and flyers he helped hand out himself.

What will continue to be an issue going forward, is JCP&L, and Cogger took time at the meeting to relay things he learned during the storm.

"These are the guys that don’t have electronic dispatch and hand stacks of paperwork with work orders on them in the morning," Cogger said. "And the crews then have to drive out to Livingston to get more."

Cogger said he hopes that if residents put pressure on the Board of Public Utilities, they will sanction JCP&L and First Energy. 

"We need a Jersey company that is focused on New Jersey and its people. While they aren't perfect, PSE&G and their technology is light years ahead," Cogger said. "Of course, a quill pen would be light years ahead for JCP&L."

Cogger urged residents to write to JCP&L and tell their own individual and unique story.

"And when you write to the Board of Public Utilities make sure you tell them you don't want the cost of repairing the infrastructure to be put back on the public," Cogger said. "It is time for the shareholders to dip into their pockets."

Cogger said he anticipated hearing like the ones held after Hurricane Irene, and he plans on being one of the mayors who testifies.

"You can’t prevent this because you can’t control the utilities. You need to make the Board of Public Utilities enforce the law that is on the books. The power resides with the BPU. If they decide that JCP&L is a bad actor they can fine them," Cogger said.

"I would fine them $500 for every 48 hours that someone is out of power and make them pay back the person who has the outage. You have to hit them in the pocketbook. It is the only thing that matters to them. They can't be shamed or embarrassed."

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