Rooney, DePhillips decry Orange and Rockland’s lackluster response to power outages, call for investigation

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblymen Kevin J. Rooney and Christopher DePhillips called out Orange and Rockland Energy Company for its lack of preparation, communication and leadership as thousands of people remain without power following Wednesday’s nor’easter. The assemblymen are demanding answers.

“This is a matter of public safety and public health in our communities and the lackluster response from Orange and Rockland is unacceptable,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “There are roads that are still impassable for police, firefighters and ambulances because of fallen trees and powerlines. The situation is dangerous. Orange and Rockland needs to explain why and how they have failed their customers with such great incompetence.”

“It is completely evident that Orange and Rockland hasn’t learned its lesson from past storms like Sandy,” said DePhillips (R-Bergen). “I am calling for an investigation by the Board of Public Utilities and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee into Orange and Rockland’s complete mismanagement and lack of preparation. Not only has the response been insufficient, but it has taken days to even start fixing our communities.”

Wyckoff’s mayor said the utility company has failed to provide adequate crews to restore power to the town, leaving town hall, the police station, two schools, a sewage pump station and traffic lights dark, according to a media report. He said Orange and Rockland crews were “sitting in trucks watching down lines” while PSE&G crews, who serve the eastern part of the town, were working.

Rooney and DePhillips said they experienced the same poor response to outages from Orange and Rockland when they both served as mayor. “This is nothing new,” said Rooney. “It’s way past time they get their act together.”