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NJ Senator Grills JCP&L President On Sandy Response [AUDIO]

The heads of New Jersey’s utility companies came before the State Senate Budget panel yesterday and got an earful from legislators about their post-Sandy response efforts.

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) president Don Lynch took the brunt of the anger from State Senator Kevin O’Toole.

“Maybe you need more line workers,” O’Toole said to Lynch. “Maybe you need more infrastructure. Maybe you need a better inventory and investment in your communication bank. A lot of things went wrong and a lot of it in JCP&L went wrong. Some was okay. Some was a disaster and you have to bear some responsibility.”

O’Toole thinks people are tired about hearing what we’ve learned after every storm. He says the learning curve has to stop and improvements need to happen now.

Lynch says, “Quite frankly we have the resources (and) we have the people to be able to accomplish what we need to accomplish.”

O’Toole asked, “You think you have the resources after what we just experienced in Sandy? You think JCP&L dedicated enough resources to combat the problems we saw? You’re telling me with hindsight 20/20 that JCP&L dedicated enough time and money and resources to deal with this storm?”

Lynch responded, “What I’m saying is we can always be better, but I am proud of the effort during a storm of this magnitude with 1.3 million outages restored in really 13 days after the storm passed..”

O’Toole is also not happy that JCP&L is requesting a $31 million a year rate hike just after Sandy.

He says, “It’s a real stick in the eye, Mr. President to have to sit here and try to field calls from my constituents that your folks are asking for a $31 million increase when some of them are barely getting their lights on right now. It’s hard to understand that and it’s insulting in many ways and it’s coarse in many ways.”

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