Mayor Soriano: I want action by Verizon today

The electrical, telephone and cable utilities must begin to coordinate their recovery efforts, and stop squabbling over jurisdictional issues while residents languish in the dark and cold

Trees are down along with power lines on East Halsey Road

PARSIPPANY — On Sunday afternoon, March 11, we received word from the Parsippany Department of Public Works (DPW) that Mayor Soriano said if Verizon wasn’t in Parsippany cleaning up their downed wires he would personally go inspect the areas with DPW and clean up the wires so that streets can open before the Monday morning commuter and school traffic. Soriano, being an experienced electrician would cut the wires himself, and have the DPW remove them.

Parsippany Focus contacted Mark Bocchieri, Verizon’s director of external affairs, to advise him of the Mayor’s intentions.  He said “We are currently in storm practices; We want to make sure the wires are not live and safe for area residents and our employees; We were waiting on the power company to notify Verizon so we can take action.  He also stated his managers were reaching out to the power company for an update.”

Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor Michael Soriano

Mayor Soriano said “I will continue to work and put the pressure on until Parsippany is 100% restored.”

Parsippany Focus made a tour of some of the closed streets remaining in Parsippany.

We found East Halsey Road at Jefferson Road, not touched by Verizon at all, and actually the area worsen since we took our first set of photographs on Thursday afternoon. Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department had the entire area blocked off. (Editors Note: after we published this article, we received information from Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department that Verizon crews are currently on scene making repairs. After they are finished Cablevision will have some repairs to do.)

South Beverwyck Road – Verizon was on the scene at 5:30 p.m. repairing the downed lines and road will be open shortly. (We aren’t sure of the exact time they arrived at the location, but when we visited the location at 5:30 p.m. they were hard at work and almost completed the removal and replacement of the downed wires). There were Parsippany workers at the scene waiting to clear the snow and ice from the road so the road could reopen. (Editor’s Note: We were informed after publishing this article, that the road is now open to traffic).

Verizon trailers carrying telephone pole to the area of South Beverwcyk Road
Verizon trucks at the scene on South Beverwyck Road

Park Road: Crews are on the scene attempting to repair the remaining of the cable and/or telephone wires and the area should be open sometime this evening or early Monday morning. Mt. Tabor School is located at 140 Park Road. (Park Road between DeHart Drive and Geoffrey Drive is closed).

In a Facebook post, Mayor Soriano said “I know from personal experience that the men and women of JCP&L who are spending 16-hour shifts restoring power deserve a great deal of praise. Working in winter conditions is far from easy, and I believe I speak for all Parsippany residents in thanking them for providing a service that is, frankly, life-threatening. The president and field managers of JCP&L have been working closely with me to restore Parsippany’s power grid. However, their board of directors and stockholders have made virtually no progress upgrading our power infrastructure or building resources for major disasters since the devastation of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. This lack of vision and planning is what has put us in jeopardy.”

“The fact is that we are still using the same type of utility poles dating to the Morse Code lines of the 1840s, despite the widespread availability of 21st century technologies. Telecommunications companies such as Verizon and Optimum also share the blame in the antiquated state of our electrical and communications infrastructure. The electrical, telephone and cable utilities must begin to coordinate their recovery efforts, and stop squabbling over jurisdictional issues while residents languish in the dark and cold,” he continued.

“I stand with Governor Murphy in his call for an investigation into the practices of New Jersey’s utility companies, and look forward to sharing with the broader public the disgrace of the response to this storm in Parsippany specifically. I also look forward to closely monitoring the progress that JCP&L and the other utilities make in sharply increasing their preparedness procedures. Anything less than a complete overhaul is unacceptable. To this hour, three major roads in our township remain closed. The reality of the situation is this: another storm of this magnitude, or even larger, will come. It may be this year, or the year after; it is coming. Major storms, hurricanes and other disasters are a fact of life, something that our state has extensive experience with and something that we must be more prepared for. We thought that was going to happen after Hurricane Sandy. It did not. I now stand not only with our Governor, but also with the leaders of hundreds of other communities in our state, in saying this to the public utilities: this must not happen again, and we are watching you with a laser focus,” said Soriano in his Facebook post.

If you are one of the 214 households without power please make sure you re-report your outage directly to JCP&L.  It is reported from the Parsippany Police that most outages will be restored by the end of today. According to the JCP&L outage map, the remainder should be restored by the end of the day tomorrow.