Rock­hills boards re­view re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Sandy

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - ON THE RECORD - By Bob Keeler

:HVW 5RFNKLOO RI­fiFLDOV VDy there’s no state or fed­eral law re­quir­ing Hid­den Mead­ows on the Ridge se­nior cit­i­zen hous­ing to have a gen­er­a­tor, but there should be a way of avoid­ing hav­ing to evac­u­ate the build­ing as was needed when the rem­nants of Hur­ri­cane Sandy knocked out elec­tric­ity.

“That’s crazi­ness. Th­ese old peo­ple, you can’t just get them up and mov­ing,” West Rock­hill Town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors mem­ber John Mann said at the board’s Nov. 21 meet­ing.

About 60 peo­ple live in the three-story build­ing on Farm­ers Lane.

Plans have al­ready been made and Hid­den Mead­ows will have a gen­er­a­tor by year’s end, Con­nie Renn, ad­mis­sions and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, said in a phone in­ter­view this week.

drand View Hospi­tal, which had gen­er­a­tors but was not at full power dur­ing the out­age, also came within a day of hav­ing to evac­u­ate, Don­ald Du­vall, chair­man of the West Rock­hill board, said.

Du­vall said the town­ship now wants to look into whether the mu­nic­i­pal­ity can make the gen­er­a­tors a re­quire­ment.

“They should have to have ad­e­quate gen­er­a­tors to run their fa­cil­ity,” board mem­ber Jay heyser said.

The storm brought the sec­ond late Oc­to­ber multi-day weather-re­lated elec­tric out­age in a year to many homes and busi­nesses in the area.

In its af­ter­math, East 5RFNKLOO 7RwQVKLS RI­fiFLDOV are plan­ning to re­con­di­tion a JHQHUDWRU uVHG DW WKH WUDI­fiF light at Route 313 and Ridge Road and add a gen­er­a­tor KRRNuS WR WKH WUDI­fiF OLJKW DW Route 313 and Fifth Street.

“7KRVH WwR WUDI­fiF OLJKWV are a pri­or­ity, as far as I’m con­cerned,” East Rock­hill Town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors mem­ber Jim Ni­etup­ski said fol­low­ing the board’s Nov. 20 meet­ing.

The pos­si­bil­ity of adding a gen­er­a­tor at the town­ship of­fiFHV wDV DOVR GLVFuVVHG, EuW that might not really do the job, board mem­ber David Ny­man said.

“vou can have all the lights on up here, but if you can’t com­mu­ni­cate, what good does it do you?” Ny­man said.

Dur­ing the power out­age, Ny­man said, he was work­ing in an­other Bucks County PuQLFLSDOLWy’V RI­fiFHV wKHUH there was elec­tric, but no phones or In­ter­net ser­vice.

Ny­man also said he will be at­tend­ing a meet­ing with PPL Elec­tric rep­re­sen­ta­tives set up by East Rock­hill Sec­re­tary/Trea­surer Mar­i­anne Mo­rano to talk about the re­sponse to the power out­age. The town­ship did not get in­for­ma­tion from the util­ity com­pany dur­ing the out­age and, although Bucks County was la­beled the hard­est hit part of Penn­syl­va­nia dur­ing Sandy, the elec­tric com­pany fiUVW FRQFHQWUDWHG RQ RWKHU parts of the state, he said.

“I’d like to have some sort of ex­pla­na­tion of why we didn’t get some pri­or­ity here be­cause we were hit so hard,” Ny­man said at the East Rock­hill meet­ing.

“We haven’t had very good com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the power com­pa­nies and the ca­ble com­pa­nies,” heyser said at the West Rock­hill meet­ing.

The util­i­ties did set up sys­tems to give in­for­ma­tion to res­i­dents about when their power would be re­stored, dreg Lip­pin­cott, West Rock­hill’s town­ship man­ager, said.

“In­di­vid­u­als can get no­ti­fiHG, EuW uV DV PuQLFLSDOLWLHV, GLGQ’W JHW QRWL­fiHG,” KH said.

While he un­der­stands the res­i­dents’ frus­tra­tions with the out­age, Du­vall said, he also sees the rea­son other arHDV wHUH WKH fiUVW WR JHW WKHLU power re­stored.

“We need to help the ci­ti­zens un­der­stand what it takes to get a sys­tem like that up and run­ning,” Du­vall said.

The out­ages in the other ar­eas af­fected a greater num­ber of peo­ple and the util­i­ties were try­ing to help as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble as quickly as pos­si­ble, he said.

“They’re go­ing to go where their den­sity is,” Du­vall said.

That means ur­ban ar­eas will have the power re­stored more quickly than the more ru­ral West Rock­hill, he said.

Many lo­cal peo­ple have taken mat­ters into their own hands in deal­ing with the out­age, he said.

“den­er­a­tors are very pop­u­lar right now in West Rock­hill,” Du­vall said. “Our big­gest thing was peo­ple ran out of gas in their gen­er­a­tors.”

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