“Sometimes the process works”
Assemblyman O’Scanlon praised the process that led to the comprehensive and sensible solution to the placement of electric meters in flood zones. “As hard as it is to accept, conflicting concerns will mean we sometimes encounter frustrating rules and regulations” said O’Scanlon. “Sometimes those enshrined rules and regulations can be exceedingly difficult to alter, even in the face of drastically altered conditions. So when we came across the meter height issue a few weeks ago, I was very concerned.”
O’Scanlon was contacted by a constituent, along with local Sea Bright officials regarding the conflicting guidance pertaining to the placement of her electric meter. “The original guidance directed her to place the meter above the base flood elevation level, which she did. The problem arose when JCP&L representatives showed up and informed the homeowner to move the meter down to 5.5 feet above ground level, well below the future flood level. We almost simultaneously encountered the issue during an inspection of rebuilt neighborhoods in Union Beach. I immediately contacted JCP&L and the Governor’s Office of Rebuilding and Recovery. Everyone ‘s attitude was immediately open-minded. The JCP&L folks explained the reasoning behind their rules – they must have easy access to meters in case of fire or other emergencies – but understood that a better solution was needed for these flood prone areas and they committed to finding one”.
Working with the BPU, and the Governor’s Office of Rebuilding and Recovery, they came up with not just one potential solution but a set of options that provide flexibility for different situations. Meters can now be placed well above likely flood waters, provided there is a permanent, fixed platform with stairs leading to it. Front and rear porches can potentially qualify and the option of a separate platform exists as well. Customers should work with JCP&L to arrive at the best option for their situation and must get approval from JCP&L for potential placements.
Some folks who have already placed their meters will have the added expense of moving them if they want to take advantage of this option, but at least now they have the choice. Those many folks still working on rebuilding will be able to take advantage of these options immediately.