New Jersey utility companies’ response to Hurricane Sandy have been scrutinized by customers and lawmakers. While some have criticized the way the natural disaster and its aftermath were handled, Atlantic City Electric President Vincent Maione defended the way his company responded to the storm.
“We believe we were very prepared,” Maione said. He explained the preparedness allowed Atlantic City Electric to better communicate with customers and successfully restore 90 percent four days after the storm.
Maione said employees were prepared and Atlantic City Electric obtained necessary resources from across the U.S., mainly in the southwestern portion of the country. “We had those folks lined up so then we reached out to all our key stakeholders, including our customers,” he said. “We did a blast outreach to all our customers letting them know this could be a long duration event.”
According to Maione, about 200,000 customers were affected by the hurricane and 90 percent were restored four days after the storm and the remainder that could accept power were back on the grid eight days after Sandy hit.
“So we thought we did a very good job,” Maione said. “We had a report or poll that was performed by Monmouth University and the Asbury Park Press that polled our customers and they identified that 80 percent of our customers felt we did a good job in communicating with them throughout the storm. So we’re really pleased and proud of that statistic.”
In addition to warning customers about the coming storm, Maione said Atlantic City Electric kept customers updated through media outlets and phone apps that showed an estimated time of restoration. He said the company did a very good job of maintaining the data on the system so customers could get information in real time from any location. Utility representatives also had meetings with government officials throughout southern New Jersey so they knew how the restoration process was going in case they were contacted by constituents.