With just over 2,300 Summit locations still without power in the community, nearly two weeks after super-storm Sandy, the mayor of Summit and some moms in the community are fighting back. Mayor Ellen Dickson has said that officials are planning on changing the ownership of power distribution in the city. While a Facebook group started last night is acting as a central location for street-by-street power outtage information.
"We are trying to get this solved," Dickson said in a morning post on her website, "But [we] are already making plans on how to change the ownership of the local distribution system to have better control of this essential service in the future."
This is Summit's third major storm in a little less than two years and power restoration has been deemed inadequate by many residents, with restoration taking days and weeks in the aftermaths of each event.
A group of powerless local moms have started a Facebook group called Power-Up Summit,NJ that's been catching fire. Originally reported on in the Independent Press, the site already boasts around 400 followers.
It was started by Summit residents Julie Spencer Fuoti, Terry Andrews and Christina Cranley.
"We simply wanted to be helpful so people could see the magnitude of how many people were still out," Fuoti told Patch in a Facebook message. "There seemed to be plenty of crews from out of state with little to no direction from JCP&L."
Fuoti says the popularity of the group, as a place for residents to post street outages as well as their attempts to contact the NJ board of utilities has yielded a "good lesson on organizing communities," she said. "Never piss off mom."
The trio of moms who separately work in marketing, fundraising and media are all without power in their Summit homes.
"We were tired of feeling helpless and wanted to take some control," said Andrews, a co-organizer of the Power-Up group. "With help from some of our more Facebook savvy children, we created the group and it's great to see that it has spurred some action."
One group member writes:
"Candlelight vigil at City Hall? Group shredding or bonfire of JCPL bills?," wrote one group member.
Another group member details making a call to the president of JCP&L's parent company First Energy:
"Just spoke to "Kelly" in the chairmen office of First Energy Corp. She refused to give me her last name! I asked if Mr. Alexander would consider a town hall conference call to explain their plan for restoring power to our city."
It's no doubt that Summit residents are doing all that they can to deal with the power outage affect so many right now. Including Dickson:
"I have been in touch with the Governor’s office, our legislative representatives on a state and federal level officials at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, as well as JCP&L," she wrote in the statement on her website. "There is one identified crew in Summit doing work. I have personally been trying to field all the concerns of residents who are outraged at the lack of information as am I. I am furious at JCP&L for their lack of information."
The Summit moms who started Power-Up Summit, NJ are furious, too.