Underground Burning Wire Complicates Ridge Road Power Restoration

Nearly 5,900 in Mahwah remain without power Friday; O&R says it cannot pinpoint a recovery time

A continuously-burning underground cable that is melting the asphalt on Ridge Road may delay power restoration to the many homes around the roadway, as well as to four of the township’s six schools, the library, and other buildings and businesses on and around Ridge Road.

Orange & Rockland discussed the situation with Mahwah officials in a conference call Thursday afternoon.

While the underground cable is not on fire, it is burning, letting off a tremendous amount of heat, and has started buckling the roadway, officials said. O&R has stationed a public safety officer at the scene to make sure no residents come in contact with the burning wire.

Though the utility could not provide a timetable for when the issue would be addressed, township officials said they have stressed its importance to O&R.

“It is a priority for them,” Mayor Bill Laforet said. “They know it’s a big deal, but we don’t have a timeline yet. It could potentially be a tremendous undertaking to fix this cable.”

O&R spokesperson Maria Pollard said the utility is working repairs like this into their ongoing power restoration efforts. “The issue with underground wire situations like this is they are often wet, get very hot, and this is probably a primary line,” she said. Until O&R can get a crew to fully assess and fix the problem, “we have a public safety officer there to make sure everyone is safe.”

Pollard said she could not provide much more specific detail about Ridge Road, but did say the utility has brought in hundreds of extra crews working overtime to address this and all of its other power outages.

“After the storm, we had 230,000 customers out of power. To give you some perspective, we only serve 300,000 – so that was 80 percent of our customer base,” Pollard said. “I’ve been here 12 years, and I’ve never seen as large a number of outages or the amount of destruction as we’ve seen with this storm."

Slowly, Mahwah residents have been getting power back. After Hurricane Sandy, . Friday morning, O&R reported 5,896 customers in Mahwah remained without power.

However, Pollard said an exact timeline for when the remaining outages would be rectified isn’t possible.

“We know our customers’ patience is wearing thin,” she said. “But, we are progressing by where the circuits are, the damage, the resources we have and the number of people affected [by the outage],” she explained. “People would like to hear a date when we’ll be in their town, but unfortunately, we’re not at the point where we can give out information like that.”

O&R hopes to have its entire system up and running again by Nov. 11, she said.

Mahwah school district officials were not immediately available Thursday to comment on how the burning wire and outage at Ridge Road may affect school going back into session.

More Sandy Coverage on the Mahwah Patch:

  • Daytime Shelter Set Up At Ramapo College
  • State Eases Voting Restrictions to Accommodate Storm-Battered Residents
  • Christie Pushes Utility Companies to Restore Power
  • Telethon to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Victims
  • Red Cross Website Helps You Let Loved Ones Know You're Safe
  • Most of Mahwah Remains Without Power for Third Day
  • Sandy Aftermath: What To Do With Food
  • Officials: Crisis Map To Help Mahwah Residents Recover From Sandy
  • Sandy Photos From Around New Jersey
  • What’s Open in Mahwah
  • What Mahwah Looks Like After Sandy



Text news tips to 201-706-1984, or email jessica.mazzola@patch.com. Get updates on the Mahwah Patch Facebook and Mahwah Patch Twitter.

Gerardo Moreira November 03, 2012 at 12:56 AM
society hills II at kilmer woods has power. Neighbors can come back home
wendy November 03, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Do you know the schools are without power still???
Gloria DeStefano November 03, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Hey, this is the best news I have heard in 5 days!!! Ridge road is open and so we can go home to our houses and get warmth and food. Our Mayor did a great job in getting this underground burning wire situation taken care of. Thanks to our Mayor and DPW crew for working so hard to restore power. Now let's all pray that the rest of the town and nearby towns get their power on by this weekend. Glo
mary November 03, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Ralph I have gotten email alerts from the Mayor everyday on different events in the Town. I live on ridge road and didn't see any dpw trucks clearing the road in fact it was an utility truck from detroit. I did see the mayor on ridge road talking to the utility workers. no dpw people in sight.
d2blondee November 03, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Wait there are still many along the ridge road power grid that don't have power.400 townhomes to be exact. We lost power hours before the other side did since Monday at 2 pm.
d2blondee November 03, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Mayor bill and ORU please don't forget about us. It's 54 in the house and dropping
d2blondee November 03, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Helixcon don't be so happy cuz the other side of ridge road is dark as hell
wendy November 03, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Blondee are you on the w. Ramapo side of ridge or the darlington side?
Jessica Mazzola (Editor) November 03, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Hi all -- Update on this article...the schools do not have power yet. Decision about school will be made by 3p Sunday. http://mahwah.patch.com/articles/o-r-crews-restoring-power-to-some-of-ridge-road
07430 November 03, 2012 at 03:11 AM
I'm so glad I read your comment. I live on Ridge Rd and as much as it sucks to not have power, I cannot complain since I have my life, family, home and car intact. Have any of you that are writing these selfish comments seen/heard the tri-state area?! Some have nothing left!! Everybody has to make the best of what they have. Be thankful that you have your life and home. If you have time to leave a comment on The Patch then I'm sure you are capable to finding information on where you can get help for food, shelter, gas and charging stations. The Mayor, OEM and O&R and not sitting around with their thumb up their behinds. They are doing a wonderful job getting the job done as fast as then can. Appreciate the workers who come all the way from OH (and other states) to leave their families for a month or more to help the residents of Mawah (and the rest of NJ). People have not a clue what work is involved to get the power restored. Do all of you think that they can get the power restored in a few hours? Ummm.....maybe if there was 100 residents in Mahwah. Well, now that they got Ridge Road restored, I hope all of you will go out and order the supplies that you would need to to survive the Nor'easter that is coming next week. Good Luck.
07430 November 03, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Roberta, you have time to leave comments on The Patch with no power and cable but, you couldn't find ANYTHING about how you can stay connected on information that you might need involving Hurricane Sandy....ie text 888-777 to mahwah1 to receive updates on situations in Mahwah that are useful. I have been receiving plenty including on what is going on Ridge Road. The town did this since they knew that reverse 911 would not work. Patience gave you a perfectly great explanation on why you would not physically have seen any activity to date on Ridge Road which is not true at all. O&R has been on Ridge Road yesterday with 20 plus trucks and today with 10 plus trucks. Oh.....and about two hours after you wrote your comment the power came on. I hope this will help you for next time their is a storm. I heard next week we might get hit with a Nor'easter.
Eileen R November 03, 2012 at 03:56 AM
The blog from O & R. Is really interesting. If you go on the Mao it will show you whee the outages are and how many affected. Mahwah gas 323. And affecting 32000 some odd people in the immediate area. With a niv11 restoration date. The funny ( and I mean that sarcastically) thing is that if you take every disc in the area the alllllllll say. Nov 11. Restoration. Come on now give me a break. Is the big switch in the sky going to come back on that day????? Duh!! I would like to see some honest predictions and breakdown if progress areas and PLANS. After all. Gas is now being rationed. Onthe year. 2012. AMAZING. Still haven't seen one truck in Brookside Manor. But emergency services are getting calls for possible Hypothermia. Please be aware of older neighbors who may not have much information or family to help them.
07430 November 03, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I can def vouch for Mary. I saw the same thing. But I do think that people need to be thankful for Columbus Northeasten O&R for getting the job done.
Frustrated and frightened November 03, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Still in total darkness and cold on this side of ridge road - burchwood hills . Not one truck on my street yet. Same tees and lights still down. I'm happy that peiople are getting power back - it gives me some hope.
Frustrated and frightened November 03, 2012 at 04:48 AM
...and no generators allowed here
Sandy November 03, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Please stop. I live in Darlington Ridge and have no power (that I'm aware of) because I'm in manahawkin/LBI trying to help my elderly mother who lost everything. She not only has no heat, she has no house to live in. Be thankful you still have a home with all of your nonworking luxuries, others are not so fortunate
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Ralph November 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Andy, I dont care if Ed Sinclair gets elected however since he is the only one running against Laforet I have no choice but to vote for him. I have seen first hand how distructive the mayor is and how calculated he can be. I couldnt stand one year from him and more years is too much to handle. Call it as you see it Andy but regardless of what is happening with the storm, Laforet is not the right person to run this town
fastharry November 03, 2012 at 04:37 PM
@ Andy Schmidt...I see from the text messages that the mayor has now decided to call in the NJ federalies as progress isn't up to speed..No Kidding, I figured that out on Wednesday. The Mayor was stressing that the crews would be up there asap..in truth, they were there 10 hours before he knew it. As soon as Gov Christie announced the crackdown on the NJ power suppliers, he should have been on the phone with the Governor, not waited till Saturday. OR, he should have called Pataki, as O and R is a New York supplier who gives a rats ass about NJ customers. Read my response to the whole burning wire fiasco...http://mahwah.patch.com/articles/o-r-crews-restoring-power-to-some-of-ridge-road
fastharry November 03, 2012 at 04:39 PM
here's the right link... http://mahwah.patch.com/articles/o-r-crews-restoring-power-to-some-of-ridge-road
fastharry November 03, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Interesting..just drove all around fardale...Wires still hanging on youngs road....saw only one crew...and apparently, people are being told that it is all due to the burning wire on ridge road..which we all know by now is a bunch of BS as they have already stated there is no underground burning wire... Doesn't seem the Mayor is onto to anything...except raking in more profit at his gas station...where he is over 10 cents more a gallon than the Gulf station across the street...and more than 20 cents more than the highway stations...
d2blondee November 04, 2012 at 12:14 AM
So true and very sorry for your mom. However I wouldn't refer to heat as a luxury. I was able to see my breath in my house this morning. I hope your elderly mom was with you during the storm and not left alone down the shore
d2blondee November 04, 2012 at 12:16 AM
But he's always more expensive so you shouldn't be surprised. I get my gas there often times to support a local business of a person I know.
d2blondee November 04, 2012 at 12:18 AM
And a bright note for her that she has a place to stay with you until she can get her house livable again or buy another one. I hope the best for both of you
d2blondee November 04, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Sorry just saw this now. I'm in birch wood hills on the ramapo ridge side.
Reasonable November 04, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Goodness gracious!!! Power is still out in large areas of Rockland, Ringwood area and neighboring nj towns! Mahwah is not the only place dealing with outages! O and R services a large area. I agree it is not pleasant, but only so many hands can be on deck at anyone time! Service people are working around the clock in shifts. Have the people who say they have spotted crews getting coffee or resting in trucks thought about the fact that many of these responders are working 12 hour shifts with little sleep in between? I saw a few guys yesterday and thanked them!! and actual restoration could not be started until the storm passed and assessment could be done. If you lost power on Monday do ya think crews were going to be out at the height of the the storm? I think the response has been tremendous...
Roberta Jordan November 06, 2012 at 08:20 PM
07430 - No, and to be honest I don't have time to be responding to this either. I have every right to complain about an article that was written specifically where I reside. If you are stuck at home w/no communications how would you think i would know about the text messages? I stuck to the article at hand, unlike others that has chimed in about their specific problem. Again, I was responding to an ariticle that included me as a resident. I did state earlier that i could not comment on any other town. For the record I didn't write that I had power on the Patch - you must be a follower on FB, following me, that is the only place I commented on... Good luck in the Next Nor'easter, sounds like you are connected with all the right people.....
deer07430 November 07, 2012 at 05:27 AM
While it's a hardship to not live in your home b/c of lack of electricity and the things that it supports ( running water, heat hot water) , there are others who have nothing! I have been out since Monday, we will probably be the last in Mahwah to get it back on, but hey, I have a house to go home to. Panicking because I was running low on gas, but then the exileration at filling the tank. Not having hot water to bathe, then having a 1 hour shower, not eating a hot meal, then getting a Yankee pot roast meal at State line, I was able to do this, some people have NOTHING, so please , be considerant and shut up.
deer07430 November 07, 2012 at 05:29 AM
And another thing, thank those utility workers! Coming from: Detroit, Southern Cali, Georgia. Glad to see them. Bring them donuts/coffee to show your appreciation.
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