Saturday, November 10, 2012

2 weeks after Hurricane Sandy

The last time I wrote was last Thursday, November 1st regarding Hurricane Sandy. Remember, I wrote about electricity being restored within 2 weeks. Well, electricity has been restored to majority everyone living in New Jersey. There's so much progress that has happened, along with setbacks and ongoing frustrations. Let's start with electricity.

When Hurricane Sandy pounced on us like a roaring hungry lioness, she caused 4.8 million people to loose electricity in 15 states as well as D.C., but here in New Jersey there were nearly 2 million people without electricity and over 1.5 million people without electricity in New York. The temperatures was in the high 40's in the morning and low 20's and 30's in the evening. Millions of people stayed in their homes praying that electricity will be restored  very soon. Dreaming of the warmth of their homes and normality of their lives only to wake up to reality. The loss of electricity also affected gas stations.

Hundreds of gas stations was without electricity. That's what gas stations need to pump gas to cars. They need electricity. That wasn't the only problem. Gas stations also ran out of gas and most importantly, hundreds of them were prices gouging their prices. There were miles and miles of cars lined up to get gas for 6 or sometimes 12 hours for some who slept in their cars to be the first ones to get gas; only to become extremely angry to find out that the gas station doesn't have electricity anymore or that the fuel trucks aren't coming. New Jersey only had 20% of their gas stations working. I chose to stay home to conserve my gas. I felt if I didn't have to be on the road, I'll stay home until I can get gas freely without waiting for gas. It was insane, especially when gas stations wanted to illegally raise their gas prices like a gas station in Patterson, New Jersey who raised their prices to $5.50 for regular, whereas, the average price in Jersey was $3.40. They're paying for it now. Gas wasn't just used for vehicles but for generators too. People powered up their generators to keep their lights and heat on in their home. So now, there were lines of hundreds of people standing in line at the 20% open gas stations here in New Jersey. Some people became so desperate, they would drive to our neighboring state of Pennsylvania to full up their gas tank and fill 3 or 4 red gas containers. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Then Governor Christie came up with a brilliant idea of gas ration beginning Saturday, November 3rd. If the last number on your license plate number is an even number then you can get gas on even number days of the month. If the last number on your license plate number is an odd number then you can get gas on odd number days of the month. Of course there were hundred of people that would find something to complain about concerning this gas ration. It seems as though people didn't understand what odd and even numbers were. HELLO!!!! Isn't that's something you learn in second grade during early elementary school. It isn't difficult 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 are even and 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are odd numbers. Finally people figured it out within 2 days. Gas lines became shorter. People no longer waited in gas lines for 2 hours. By Thursday, November 8th, people was able to get gas freely. Governor Christie did an excellent job issuing the gas ration, unlike New York who decided to give out free gas to many people in the 5 boroughs which caused a lot of chaos and disorder; only to decide to issue the gas ration in New York on Thursday, November 8th. Why wait for a week and a half to go by to decide to issue gas ration? The government had an option to to give out the free gas or do gas ration. Well, we now see the best option.

Now we're able to go the mall, movies, hang out with friends, family and help others without worrying about waiting in line for 2 to 4 hours to get gas. Getting gas now means many people now have electricity. But there is still a loud cry for thousands of others who doesn't have electricity. We were making numerous and fast progress after Hurricane Sandy but suddenly we were hit with a Nor'Easter a couple of days later. People who regained their power, had lost it again because the state was hit with blistering winds, heavy snow and pouring rain, which brought down more trees and power lines. In New Jersey we have 3 main utility companies, Atlantic Electric Company, JCP&L and PSE&G. Atlantic Electric company restored nearly all of their customers electricity by the end of the week Hurricane Sandy hit us. That was an awesome job! PSE&G restored more than half of their customers by the end of the week Hurricane Sandy hit us, leaving 400,000 people without people. But that's better than nearly 2 million for Monday and Tuesday of October 30th and 31st. JOB WELL DONE! PSE&G is the largest utility company in new Jersey. It covers 2/3 of Jersey's population. But then you have JCP&L who hasn't lived up to their name. There are still thousands of their customers without electricity as of today, whereas, Atlantic Electric and PSE&G have nearly all customer's electricity restored. It seems as though JCP&L are sitting on their behinds not working to their fullest potential. I understand people must be patient but how long are they suppose to wait to get their electricity back? Well, by the end of today Saturday, November 10th, Governor Christie said all people will have electricity by the end of the night. At this time PSE&G has about 99% of their customers with power. Atlantic Electric Company has 100% of their customer's electricity restored. JCP&L has 85% restored. We have over 8,000 utility workers from other states here to help us. I'm hearing stories that JCP&L are unorganized and they don't know exactly what to do. Let me tell you what to do, take notes from PSE&G and Atlantic Electric. I'm sure you'll get some ideas about organization and know how to restore power within a timely fashion despite having being hit by the worst hurricane and Nor'Easter within days from each other.

But my heart goes out to those who lost their homes, businesses and land. There isn't enough money to help them get all those things back. Many people spent years and generations in the areas that was wiped out. Yeah, we may complain about long gas lines and not having electricity but what about those who lost everything? What about the young lady who dropped out of Rutgers University because her parents were killed by a tree during the storm, she has to now care for her 3 young siblings. What about homes and businesses that was tossed onto Route 35? What about the thriving Jersey Shore that everyone goes to for vacation which was filled with businesses and homes? But yet people like us complain about not having gas and electricity.
Who do we think we are? We are people who need to pull together.Jersey is already in the process of rebuilding. Sure, we're not as bad as New Orleans, but we suffered greatly too. Yes, this was the 2nd worst hurricane in US history but  we're making progress. As long as we pull together, help one another out, we'll do just fine. Its amazing of the improvements and restoration that has been done within 2 weeks of Hurricane Sandy and the Nor'Easter. It looks as though nothing happened. All the snow has melted away, down trees and wires are moved and debris has been taken to wastelands. I'm proud to be from New Jersey, I wouldn't trade it for another state. I think we will be better prepared next time this happens. Nothing comes to us as a shock anymore.

Like I said before by Thanksgiving we will have so much more to be thankful for. By Christmas, we will see the miracles and wonders I told you about that we have here in the Tri-State area. By New Years, all will be forgiven only to look ahead to the beautiful summer months. Of course, the Jersey Shore won't be there but other beaches will.  The faith, love and hard work of the people in New Jersey and New York will make that happen.

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