Local power outages affect students
Off-campus students said they felt that they were literally kept in the dark about when things would return to normal following Hurricane Sandy. The storm struck the shores of New Jersey on Oct. 29 leaving widespread power outages in its wake.
Although Seton Hall weathered the storm unharmed, South Orange was among the towns that lost power for up to 13 days.
Off-campus Seton Hall students reported getting power back between Nov. 6 and Nov. 7.
Junior Matthew Fantau said he lives on Ward Place and that his power was out for 10 days. With temperatures in the house reaching as low as 30 degrees some nights, the power outage became more than just inconvenient, it was uncomfortable, he said
“My evening routine would have included putting on two pairs of socks, two pairs of heavy sweatpants, a long-sleeve shirt, two sweatshirts, a large winter jacket and wool hat,” Fantau said.
According to Fantau, he and the other students in his house would charge their devices on campus in the days without power, creating an inconvenience and messing up their usual daily schedules.
Fantau said the hardest part was not having internet or light.
“The hardest part of the whole situation for me was not having my desk in my bedroom to do work at,” he said. “With no Internet or light to do work, that was extremely inconvenient.”
Fantau reports getting mixed messages from PSE&G. He said updates were available after the storm through online media, but the expected date for power restoration changed three times.
Senior and off-housing campus resident Jaad Asante said she also grew frustrated when new dates were constantly given out because she didn’t know what was accurate.
“My roommates and I lost hope at one point when we heard the latest date would be Nov. 15,” Asante said.
Senior Cassie Denbow said “the awesome thing with the storm was,” how many people in the surrounding area offered places to stay, do laundry and cook.
Fantau said his power was not restored until after the hit of winter storm Athena.
“A few of us in the house started to get sick from the cold, and that really affected school work and concentration,” Fantau said.
Public Service Enterprise Group, the main power provider in New Jersey, has been working 24/7 since the storm hit two weeks ago, according to Administrator in Media Relations and Corporate communications of PSE&G Annette Hicks.
“There’s been a lot of trees on the (power) lines pulled out from the roots,” Hicks said.
According to Hicks, this was one of the main problems leading to power outages, especially in areas such as South Orange where there was a lot of wind damage.
During a press conference on Nov. 8, Gov. Chris Christie said that power was projected to come back to New Jersey by Sunday.
He also noted that as of that Thursday, the number of power outages in the state had increased by 19,000 partially due to winter storm Athena.
Hicks also said that all lines being replaced now are newer and stronger than the old ones, but future performance depends on the strength of the storm.
“Compared to Irene last year, this is one of the worst we’ve had,” Hicks said.
Mary Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org