June 18 letter as submitted from Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari:
Dear Governor Christie:
With the arrival of the summer season, I remain concerned about the ability of Jersey Central Power & Light Co. to provide reliable service not only to our year round population, but also to thousands more seasonal guests and businesses.
I do not need to remind you of the problems our state, and specifically Ocean County faced last year in the wake of Hurricane Irene. More than 87,000 Ocean County businesses and residences lost power, many for more than a week. Our senior citizens suffered the most, and many businesses lost hundreds of thousands in lost revenue. As you recall, we spoke frequently about the problem last August when you phoned both my office and home.
Today, I remain unconvinced that JCP&L is prepared for another hurricane. I even question the utility’s ability to provide service through the high-demand months of July and August. It had been traditional for a power company representative to attend a meeting of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders at the start of each tourist season to discuss how the utility planned to handle the peak summers months. However, JCP&L officials flatly refused to appear before our board this year.
As the Freeholder Liaison to the Ocean County Office of Senior Services, I also join with the AARP and question whether the company’s profits are too high. There is a legitimate concern within both the senior and general population of our county that JCP&L places too much emphasis on profit at the expense of maintaining a modern and reliable infrastructure.
I know you share many of these same concerns and I look forward to working with you to ensure that this utility lives up to its obligations and remains accountable to the people and ratepayers of the state of New Jersey. Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me at either my home or office.
Joseph H. Vicari