TRENTON — A "mad as heck" Gov. Phil Murphy threatened to exercise executive action against one of the state's largest utility companies in response to power outages that has kept thousands of residents in the dark for more than a week.

Murphy's message was not specific on what he would do, but he said the threat to take action did get JCP&L to respond by agreeing to repair poles in their service area that belong to other companies.

The company also agreed to restore power to all customers who have been without it since last Friday, when the first nor'easter brought down numerous tree limbs and power lines. A second, snowy nor'easter on Wednesday further complicated restoration efforts, plunging hundreds of thousands more customers into darkness.

JCP&L, PSE&G, Atlantic City Electric and Orange & Rockland have restored power to a vast majority of those who lost power this week. But thousands more were expected to be without light through this weekend.

But on Saturday, JCP&L said some customers might have to wait until Monday.

“As I have said throughout the week, JCP&L’s preparation for and response to the past week’s weather events is completely unacceptable,” Murphy said. “I will not accept any of the company’s excuses for why thousands of New Jerseyans continue to be without power. I am prepared to use all the authority at my disposal to get power restored.”

(Edwin Torres/State of NJ)
(Edwin Torres/State of NJ)

On Saturday afternoon, 12,000 PSE&G customers were without power while 43,000 JCP&L were without power. Orange & Rockland had more than 11,000 customers in Bergen County and New York without power Saturday morning. Atlantic City Electric had addressed virtually all outages by Saturday afternoon.

Murphy said JCP&L should have taken certain efforts, such as repairing poles they do not own, days ago.

"People are mad as heck and so am I," he added.

Murphy and other law makers have called on the Board of Public Utilities to investigate JCP&L’s storm preparedness. Lawmakers in North Jersey also have called on regulators to investigate Orange & Rockland's response.

JCP&L was roundly criticized for its response to outages after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and a nor'easter the year before.

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