NJ Summer Storm Damage Could Cost Millions [POLL/AUDIO]
Its been a wild summer of storms in New Jersey, but utility companies say putting a price tag on the damage could take months.
There was late June's wind-drive thunderstorm "derecho" that left hundreds of thousands without power, snapped trees and downed poles and wires. This past weekend's wild weather in central Jersey wreaked havoc on residents, some who still remain in the dark, and then there were all the minor storms in between.
New Jersey certainly has not escaped Mother Nature's wrath this summer.
"We're talking probably about millions of dollars worth of damage" said Lyndel Jones, spokeswoman for Atlantic City Electric.
"We had downed trees that uprooted sidewalks, some crashed through houses, wires were down, poles, it was one of the worst storms that we have seen down here in years when that derecho came through" she added.
PSE&G says it has been very fortunate when it comes to storms so far this summer.
"The huge derecho storm that impacted 4 million people in the Mid-Atlantic region in late June didn't really hit us. For that storm we sent crews down to Atlantic City Electric because we were only impacted minimally" said spokeswoman Bonnie Sheppard.
- Related: Rare Storm Rips Through Freehold
"Of our 2.2 million electric customers, relatively few were impacted by storms that wrecked major havoc and severe damage on other areas. We were extremely fortunate with this batch of storms. We were ready nevertheless; we prepare for all storms as if we're expecting a huge one" Sheppard added.
Jersey Central Power and Light says they are continuing to work on restoration from the latest storm that battered Freehold and the surrounding area this weekend.
"Our number one priority is getting everyone back online as quickly and as safely as possible" said spokesman Scott Surgeoner.
He said putting an exact figure on the damage from all the storms in their territory could take months.
"We have invoices from other crews out of state, repairs for downed wires and poles, it will take awhile to assess all that and we haven't even started yet."
The skyrocketing cost of the damage, and NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's) prediction that there will be between 13 and 15 storms of significance this summer has utilities bracing for the worst.
Jones would not rule out the possibility of a rate hike, but says increases are already built into a JCP&L customer's bill.
"However, if we did proceed with a rate hike, any expense that we have the Board of Public Utilities would have to review it and make sure that our costs are prudent and justified."
Sheppard says PSE&G has storm damage built into their rates.
"The storms that we get over the course of a year are a regular part of doing business and are already covered in our rates."