Berkeley residents who are still waiting for power a week after Hurricane Sandy hit, take heart: crews are working to give it to you.
Repair crews were seen at several spots around town late Sunday afternoon, as the day turned to dusk, working alone or in pairs to restore service.
Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato said the crews worked through the night Sunday night to restore service. About 7,500 homes remained without power as of 7:30 a.m., Amato said.
JCP&L has said the work is tedious and time-consuming due to the number of downed trees and utility poles. By Sunday afternoon, broken utility poles had been replaced in several spots, with repair work on the wires needing to be done.
"JCP&L is doing an amazing job," Berkeley Township Council President James Byrnes said at Saturday's emergency council meeting. "You can't just turn the lights back on" like flipping a switch, he said.
Residents who continue to be without power should continue to call 1-800-LIGHTSS to ensure their outage was reported.
"We will continue to press JCP&L," Amato said. "In the interim, water and ice are still available for residents, and shelters/warming stations will remain open at Central Regional High School and Silver Ridge Park West."
Power crews aren't the only ones working extra hours. Township public works crews are working 16-hour days as well, picking up debris that has been pulled from homes as the cleanup from Sandy continues.
Mark Vannella, supervisor of solid waste/recycling, on Saturday said the public works department had removed 72 loads of debris by that morning and was working on removing debris that has been put at the curb in Berkeley Shores.
It's not a fast process, he said, because it doesn't take long to fill up one truck. "A couple of houses and it's full," he said, because of the amount of goods that residents have had to throw out.
The Ocean County landfill was remaining open through the weekend, he said, which helped, as they could get rid of the trash more quickly.
Residents who wish to take bulk items to the township's recycling yard can do so. It will be open around the clock, he said.The only thing they cannot accept is hazardous materials, such as gasoline, he said.
Residents who lost their robocans in the storm can put trash in backs and leave it at the curb until new cans become available, Vannella said. "We will pick it up."
Trash collection was expected to resume this week, he said.
Everyone is working hard to get things back to normal, Byrnes said.
"Please just be patient," he said.