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January   6

For Whom the Bulb Blows

We are feeling a real power struggle in Baristaville...Latest info on a weekly succession of blackouts comes from tipsters who reported lights blew out on a large chunk of upper Grove Street last night for a couple of hours.  And now there is a pattern, same time, duration.  C'mon guys, you can figure this one out...Baristahoods blinking through the winter, without power on Christmas, party mayhem, book club interruptus, just try to get work done on your laptop. Seems like the power company is keeping Montclair in the dark on a lot of things. But not according to the press release on their website. And in a separate letter, PSE&G spokesperson Karen Johnson wrote " that one of the challenges the industry faces is predicting cable failure."   Oh! Is this a job for Kreskin? 

January 6, 2006 in Really Freaking Weird | Permalink


The nice thing is the way the lights all go off, then flash back on for a moment, as (apparently) a backup circuit goes into action and then dies itself.

Posted by: DavidG | Jan 6, 2006 9:53:58 AM

I wonder if the denizens of "Upper" Montclair feel so "Upper" about this. We "Rump-Enders" are have no such electrical complications.

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 6, 2006 10:13:26 AM

Here's a good one, from the Board of Public Utility's website. The BPU supervises PSEG:


The Bureau of Market Development and System Reliability oversees industry restructuring
issues, development of energy reliability standards, federal interconnection, and PJM regional
transmission matters. Market development includes basic generation supply policy, basic gas
supply service policy, customer account services and the monitoring of customers changing
energy suppliers. System Reliability includes regulatory oversight associated with the provision
of safe adequate and reliable electric distribution services and natural gas supply service.

Maybe the next person they hire will have a clue, or at least some sensitivity to the issue of "system reliability."


Posted by: cary | Jan 6, 2006 10:15:41 AM

I can't speak to the first blackout, but after that, I finally reset the clock on my VCR, stove, microwave, etc., and the power went out again. Christmas Eve? Reset it. The most recent time I just put off resetting the VCR. Yep, you guessed it, Thursday afternoon I finally reset the VCR. For having done so, I apologize for causing the latest outage. You folks in the rest of Baristaville, just be glad I haven't used my toaster and table lamp at the same time.

Posted by: Bruce | Jan 6, 2006 10:30:06 AM

This blackout affected my neighborhood at Broughton and Watchung in Bloomfield AGAIN. The 5th time in less than 4 weeks. I called PSEG, the Mayor's office,the Star Ledger and Bloomfield Life. Would have tipped of Baristanet but my computer was down...I still haven't reset every appliance since the mid dinner outage on Christmas Eve. Oh- haven't heard from the mayor either- who although not responsible for electrical outages, might take some interest in the lack of stability of the power grid affecting his constituents. I am furious about this.

Posted by: Maureen-a Bloomfield Resident | Jan 6, 2006 10:53:48 AM

Atttention Right of Center (dumb tm):

Your racist, way-off-base comment is why most educated center and left of centers think you far right, self-righteous preachers of hatred are jerks.

Living with the inconvenience of power outages is a lot easier than living with morons.

Why don't you get in a car and drive around the area affected...maybe you'll see that many of those affected, with small children, etc., are paying very high taxes while living in very normal homes while having to put up with misdirected nonsense from people like you.

Posted by: Bruce Maguire | Jan 6, 2006 10:58:50 AM

"I am furious about this."

God Bless America.

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 6, 2006 11:01:31 AM

Whoa, Bruce...it was a joke. Racist?

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 6, 2006 11:02:34 AM

My husband and I just moved to this neighborhood in July, and out power also went out for the 4th (!) time last night. We made it thought the hot summer with everyone's air conditioners running, so why the lack of reliable power now? Does this happen every year?

Posted by: mbee | Jan 6, 2006 11:03:07 AM

Racist is not a one-way street.

I thought you right wingers didn't think inflammatory 'jokes' were funny...otherwise you'd watch Jon Stewart, et. al.

Posted by: Bruce Maguire | Jan 6, 2006 11:05:12 AM

Bruce, I hope your press releases are clearer than that.

I don't get the "racist angle" at all.

I have no idea what "Racist is not a one-way street." means in this context. I certainly believe racism to be a two way street, I suppose. Sometime a highway, in fact. Often, I would even say, it is the substance used by some to "pave over" the real issue.

But since all we "right wingers" think alike I suppose *you* can tell *me* what I meant.

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 6, 2006 11:11:29 AM

There was no "racism" in ROC's comments, Bruce. Or hatred. In any way. And this is from a right-winger who occasionally even watches Jon Stewart, always watches "South Park," nonetheless wonders what one's taste in TV has to do with what side of the political fence one lines up on re power outages. Is there even any side save opposition to them? (Oh for the days when one could call everything a "pinko plot!")

I also thought Maureen above expressed quite well genuine concerns about the civic effect of such outages. She's spot on here.

Posted by: cathar | Jan 6, 2006 11:15:18 AM

Mr Maguire,

So the typical response from the left wingers bereft of any ideas is to immediately lash out with the 'race card' and then follow it up with the old reliable canard "I thought you right wingers..".

Certainly you must have more in your arsenal than the same old Jesse Jackson talking points.

Posted by: King Crimson | Jan 6, 2006 11:15:53 AM

p.s. I would also like to point out that it was NOT I which brought the Left/Right angle into this.

(I don't suppose pointing that out will make much difference at all, will it?)

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 6, 2006 11:16:15 AM

I tend to disagree with him, but I see nothing inflamatory about ROC's post. What exactly is the problem?

Posted by: State Street Pete | Jan 6, 2006 11:32:38 AM

I don't understand the surprise here. When I lived in Upper Montclair circa 1990-5, power outages were all the norm in Fall and Winter. It was amusing to see one side of my street dark, while the other was completely illuminated.

Time to build a little fire in the bedroom fireplace and read by candle light. A nice Cabernet helped.

This is old infrastructure, not third world living.

Like ROC, when I moved Downtown, this was hardly ever an issue, even when the East Coast and part of the MidWest went out a couple of summers ago. I did then feel it important to conserve and shut down all but one computer, one tv and one AC unit.

Posted by: Kevin Lee Allen | Jan 6, 2006 11:36:23 AM

ahem...back to the original power issue, having the cable fail is better than replacing it in a preventative maintenance fashion for the utilities. the cable is an insured asset, they get to have an inevitable upgrade partially funded. just be grateful you have pse&g, jcp&l is a far inferior outfit, besides appliances & perishables lost, a generator is practically a necessity.

Posted by: j | Jan 6, 2006 11:39:41 AM

It makes me laugh how the broad generalization above made about the righties ("you far right, self-righteous preachers of hatred") was so quickly denounced, yet immediately followed by a broad generalization about the lefties ("left wingers bereft of any ideas").

oh so constructive

Posted by: State Street Pete | Jan 6, 2006 11:46:54 AM

I'm all for conservation and practice it constantly. This was at 9:30 PM, no Air conditioners and no major East Coast grid failure. This is local yocals at PSE&G failing to properly diagnose and fix a problem. I can bet that if the problem was affecting the CEO's outer baristaville mansion, there would have been no failures after the first. I have made my complaint(on line) to the NJBPU about the frequency of the outages. I don't have the option of moving downtown to get satisfactory power reliability.

Posted by: Maureen-a Bloomfield Resident | Jan 6, 2006 11:51:27 AM

I got a great chuckle from PSEG's website link - HA! I lost power 4 times this past Summer (South end of Bloomfield). The first time I just assumed was a power overload due to the hot weather. The next three times I knew were likely due to a deficient maintenance program at PSEG. I lived in HOT Texas for 10 years and lost power only once (during a Hurricane).
My guess is that PSEG has neglected it's power system for so many years that repeat failures like this are apt to occur more often.

Posted by: todd | Jan 6, 2006 11:55:39 AM

This kind of reminds me of summers in LBI...

In fact (much like the coast), so many of these properties have been improved with central AC, elevators, dedicated wine storage - etc.

Issue could be as much a demand side issue as aging infrastructure...

Posted by: waves2ya | Jan 6, 2006 12:12:02 PM

bingo! increased demand overall, squeezing what they can from old plant. a couple of years ago we lost power thirty times in two days at the shore, frankly every 4th of July there were major lengthy outages over the years. the power workers would be glad to have steady work, bringing things up to snuff. they are on the street & see where demand is evolving, however those trying to appease stock holders mull this over in their pointy heads and decide against pouring money into needed upgrades. at the shore, where the state finally fined jcp&l heavily and got them to agree to implementing an upgrade, jcp&l used out of state subcontractors to do the work. i can see pse&g going this route and they were always profitable enough to rise above that, it is a sign of the times

Posted by: j | Jan 6, 2006 12:31:29 PM

Shtoopid politiks aside, people affected by the outages should contact the NJ Board of Public Utilities in Newark about this. You can call 1-800-624-0241 and/or use the online complaint form at this link: http://www.bpu.state.nj.us/home/complaintForm.shtml

Posted by: Krys | Jan 6, 2006 12:36:01 PM

We live in "Downer Montclair" and our power has been out maybe 1-2 times in the past 3 years. There's been a couple times lately that it will flick off, for like 3 seconds. But, that's it. No long outages. Go Downer Montclair!

A couple of weeks ago we even had some drunk driver run into a pole outside and knock it down, all the wiring down, etc - but the power still worked!

Posted by: Butch | Jan 6, 2006 1:01:59 PM

We live in Upper Montclair (though I would never put that pretentious adjective on my stationary, if I had starionary, which I don't), and we haven't had any of these power failures that have supposedly reached epidemic proportions. I suppose when we do, I'll go back and read all these posts in the archives...

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