Toms River officials have arranged with the state to have electrical inspection fees waived for barrier island properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Salt water from flooding has compromised the electrical systems in numerous homes in the area, including the Northern Beaches and Ortley Beach, according to the township. JCP&L will pull all meters to homes in the area and residents would have had to pay a $46 inspection permit fee before power to homes could be restored, but Toms River officials have worked out a deal to have that payment waived.
Under the deal orchestrated by Mayor Tom Kelaher and Councilwoman Maria Maruca, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs will handle the inspections, rather than township employees.
"The good news is that we won't have to charge homeowners for the inspections," Kelaher said in a statement. "The DCA will be able to seek reimbursement from [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and try to recoup whatever costs they can, and then they will absorb the rest of the costs."
"I understand the need to replace the meters, but all of us on the governing body were opposed to having to charge our residents for this service. This was undue financial stress that I’m happy we were able to avoid," Maruca said in a statement.
Refunds will be issued to mainland residents who recently had their meters inspected as a result of Sandy damage, according to the township.
The Township Council last week waived construction permit fees through Feb. 28 for all properties damaged by Sandy. Fees already paid as of Oct. 30 will be refunded, according to the resolution.
Some residents expressed concern online that electrical permit fees had not also been waived.
Those requiring an electrical inspection must request a permit and DCA will complete the inspection. JCP&L will then set the new meter, according to the township.
To help expedite the process, Toms River's building inspection department will expanded its hours to 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. from Dec. 8 through Dec. 22. During that time, the department will be open until 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and will hold Saturday hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.