Recovering From Sandy, Nor’Easter [AUDIO]
New Jersey will soon shift from ‘recovery mode’ to ‘rebuild mode,’ according to Governor Chris Christie, following the one-two punch delivered by Sandy and this week’s storm.
An estimated 19,000 power outages were added to the state’s total because of the nor’easter; Christie said that should cause a one or two-day delay in getting service back to every household and business.
The Governor said all power should be restored by “early Sunday at the latest,” but a press release Thursday from Jersey Central Power & Light indicated that work would continue “throughout next week.” JCP&L’s performance was hammered by the Governor after Irene last year, and it’s currently handling the majority of outages in New Jersey.
“I do not see JCP&L’s performance as being as bad as last time,” Christie said at a storm recovery briefing. “I see it improved over last time.”
He added JCP&L is working with the toughest territory – the shore and heavily-wooded areas.
“They drew the short straw on this one,” Christie joked.
New Jerseyans who have been in the dark since early last week may still be last on the list for restoration of power, even behind those who lost electricity just a day or two ago. According to Christie, the first fixes addressed by utilities are the ones that get the most people back online at the same time.
Last week’s superstorm changed the Jersey coastline forever; homes washed away, boardwalks disappeared, and amusement rides still sit in the ocean. The destruction left many wondering if the shore can be in tact for the upcoming summer; Memorial Day Weekend is six-and-a-half months away.
“I’m sure I’m not going to have that done in six to seven months,” the Governor said. “It won’t be like you’ll walk on to the Seaside Heights boardwalk next summer and act like nothing ever happened.”
Christie admitted, though, the immediate post-storm focus is getting roads cleared, power restored and kids back to school – “the essentials of life.”
“We’re going to work as hard as we can, as quickly as we can. I’m still in the recovery phase now. The rebuild phase, I’m hoping, will start next week,” Christie said.
To help in the shore rebuild, Christie said he will speak to fellow governors who experienced similar disasters.
“We’re going to have one chance to do this; I want to make sure I do it right,” said Christie.