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Hurricane Sandy and Utility Companies

December 7th, 2012 | Uncategorized

GOD SAID “LET THERE BE LIGHT” AND JCP&L SAID “WE’LL HAVE IT FOR YOU WITHIN SEVEN TO TEN DAYS

We recognize that Hurricane Sandy was devastating to the State of New Jersey and parts of the Northeast.  People lost their lives.  People were devastated financially with the loss of property and possessions.  There is no doubt that in our lifetimes we haven’t experienced something as severe as this storm.

It is therefore not unreasonable to have expected the electric grid to have taken upwards of two weeks to be restored.  Our electric utility systems in this country is largely above ground and is exposed to the elements, falling trees and other calamities.  We suppose statistics will eventually demonstrate exactly how much of the electric infrastructure was affected but there is no doubt that a monumental portion had to be restored.  It was a relief to see trucks from Indiana, Louisiana and other states west with utility workers no doubt receiving pay but nonetheless away from their families while they worked diligently to restore our electricity. Therefore no one can seriously articulate an argument that the New Jersey utility companies did not work hard to try and reestablish order in the electrical grid and return people to some semblance of normalcy.

This firm and its staff all lived a nomadic life looking for heat and light for a period of time going from hotels to friends and family members as electricity came on. The part that was and remains troubling was the communication.  Each day we received updated calls about when school might be back open and each day we went on-line to check when power might be returned to our area.  The communication was scatter-shot and uncertain, very often telling us on one day that half our town had been restored and on the next that none of our town had been restored and on the following day saying all of our town had been restored and on the next saying none of our town had been restored.  No doubt there was enormous pressure to show progress and to try and keep people apprised as best as possible.  However, when three different websites from the same utility company show different information about restoration schedules it is a problem.  Had we been told within forty-eight hours of the storm that it was highly unlikely we would get power within a week to ten days our options would have been different.  We could have hastily scheduled some time away with more distant relatives who we haven’t seen.  We could have attempted to squeeze-in a family vacation.  We would have been far more capable of making informed decisions as opposed to each day learning more and/or less about our situation.  That is, we believe, the legitimate criticism of the utility companies as the days mounted with electric needs being addressed and communications being scrambled.

This firm recognizes that we engage on behalf of clients in crucial, often life-changing litigations.  From the start of the firm, we have endeavored to maintain full candor and a conservative analysis of what we can and cannot achieve in the legal process on behalf of a client.  It is from that basis a client can make the most informed decisions about how to proceed in their matter.  I can say without pause that we are capable, successful trial attorneys and hard-charging advocates for our clients. However, what separates a good trial lawyer from a great advocate is communication, candor, and open and honest analysis. Having to sometimes give difficult and painful information is unpleasant.  Yes, it is a requirement of this profession and every client deserves the most realistic information so that they can maturely and intelligently analyze their own legal standing as they move forward making important choices.

At any rate, the lights are back on and the firm is ready to serve.