Some Westfielders feel like they've been left out in the cold, literally. As it approaches the two-week mark since they lost power, several of the remaining five percent of Westfield residents who are without heat and electricity contacted Patch to say they are "cold, tired, and fed up."
A Tweet posted early Saturday, Nov. 10 by the Town of Westfield stated "The #1 issue in Town continues to be full power restoration. We know it (sic) difficult especially for the final 5%, but you are not forgotten."
But that's not how some residents feel, especially those who were promised power by midnight Friday yet failed to have it restored. Making matters worse, some residents said, is the fact that they have heeded Mayor Andy Skibitsky's advice and called in their outage only to discover PSE&G has no record of it. Additionally, some residents said they are still facing dangerous conditions such as downed wires right outside their door.
Jennifer Dombalis, who lost power on Monday, Oct. 29, said a downed pole and dangling wires are still in front of her Wychwood Road residence. After being told her power would be restored by midnight Friday, Dombalis contacted Patch Saturday and stated she still did not have power and when she contacted PSE&G she was told no record of her outage existed.
"I called PSEG again to get an update and this time I was told there was never a call made from my address and she would put in a work order that we have no power," Dombalis said. "I am at a loss for words. I called over a week ago to report and yesterday to get an update."
Dombalis, like other Westfield residents, questions whether she was simply given an erroneous time for restoration to get her off the phone.
"There are still live wires hanging down on my street and a down pole," she said. "The Westfield police taped off from the bottom of my driveway a week ago. The other end of my street is blocked off with barriers they put up. Yesterday, the police came back, removed the tape and put wood sawhorse barriers in the road at the bottom of my driveway. I cannot park in my driveway because I have no way out. I have to park down the street. There were fire trucks here last night (Thursday) as well. There seems to be a bigger problem that no one is willing to tell the residents on this street. Last night (Thursday) the power was restored to Topping Hill Road, which is the street behind me. I honestly believe we are the forgotten street."
But Dombalis, who said following last year's storm her street was also one of the last to have power restored, isn't alone in feeling abandoned.
Geraldine Stewart of Coleman Place said she also feels forgotten. Despite daily calls to PSE&G, Stewart stated that her outage was never issued a job number.
Residents on Oxford Terrace and Nelson Place are also without power.
In an article published Sunday morning by The Star Ledger examining New Jersey towns' response and recovery efforts, Westfield fares well by comparison to other municipalities. The piece cites the Town's Twitter feed and two town-wide conference calls as means that were used to keep residents informed which many other towns didn't employ.
Fourth Ward Councilman Keith Loughlin, who has also used his Twitter feed to post updates and respond to residents' inquiries, said while he had not received updated numbers from PSE&G as of Sunday morning, the utility has assured town officials that crews will remain in Westfield, "until the job is complete and all are restored."
"Please continue to report all outages to PSE&G (at) 1-800-436-7734," Loughlin noted.