Why Does It Take So Long to Restore Power Here?

We met today with the President of Met-Ed (it’s his 3rd week on the job, he’s had a heck of a start) and we are quite confident that while they are literally doing all that can be done with the resources that they have, there are basic systemic design issues to the electric grid that make power restoration to Bridgeton Township – and specifically the riverfront areas along Rt. 32 – so difficult.

We have two main challenges.

1. Geography. The terrain of our area – wooded, hilly and rocky – means that you can’t just drive to where the damaged lines are in many places. When a line goes down in the state game lands or along Lodi Hill Road, crews have to move extremely heavy materials over extremely rough terrain to make repairs. This is true of many of our power lines.

2. Routing of Key Lines. In one area of our community, the same poles and route that brings power in to the local substation from New Jersey is the route that carries power back out to our community. So if a tree falls on a line along that route, the damage is multiplied, since the main supply lines into the area are taken out as well as the local distribution lines – which affects people in a far greater area. Another key line routes for miles through roadless areas, including the State Game Lands. Have a look at the image below. You can see a cut through the woods from Bridgeton Hill Road, passing the the “R” in the “Birch Rd.” road label and then – into a whole bunch of woods – with no access roads. If a tree is into a line somewhere in middle of that run, there’s only one way to get to it – cut and push through with heavy equipment.


One of the effects of these challenges is that it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate assessment of damages until crews are physically on the ground and looking at the situation directly. There’s no way to do a “drive-by” assessment, and a fly-over view hides too many details.

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