Utilities After Sandy


According to Brick Patch Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari’s Wants Utility companies to waive fees for Sandy victims that have lost their house or are displaced. any residents who have been displaced are now actually being double billed – first for utility usage in homes they can no longer live in, and then in homes they have relocated to, Vicari said.

You mean I’m not the only one having issue with being billed for the sewer bill for house that isn’t being lived in and has no running water??

Vicari said the county Department of Consumer Affairs is working on an analysis to determine the scope of the problem. More information and utility contacts should be available by early next week.

“We’re trying to work it out in a spirit of cooperation,” he said.

I hope this spreads to Monmouth County too, and when I say Monmouth county I mean Highlands.

7 comments

  1. The deck is stacked working, quitely, politely or loud and crude when it comes to public utilities. The law and past expeience make the experience long and not very rewarding. Public utilities and their finance was established with the intent to keep rates low by guarenteeing a set percent of expense as profit. This has morphed over the years into a guaranteed replacement for storm expenses and upgrades. The utilities will recoup any voluntary concessions on rate reduction or cancelled billing in a year or two with the right accounting and following the law already in place. Highlands has another set of tools that it can employ to deal with ever rising energy cost. Smart money throuout the world is looking for opportunities to tryout and control alternative energy production. Highlands, with wind, wave, tidal and solar energy possibilities could aggegate the towns resources and infrastructure and become energy independent, feeding the grid, producing revenue for all. Additionally the town for the next energy boom would be an ongoing model and destination town year round.

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    • So are you suggesting the town via eminent domain take over (oh I don’t know, maybe 5th street between Cedar & Miller), knock down the houses and build wind turbines? And if we did do that we could then not only power ourselves at a lower rate but generate revenue by powering and selling the grid to say SB, AH & Middletown?

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    • No I am not suggesting that. I am suggesting what Alexandria Virginia, The Philadelphia School Board and a host of small and mdeium sized towns and cities have done across the world. Rebuild but make a committment to include renewable power sources and nopn traditional old economy ways of making the town self sufficient in its use of energy and its location at the gateway to NY Harbor and as a coastal community for the 21st century. It does not have to start by limiting or damaging anyone’s home or property. It may grow to include this option, first for those who like the homeowners on SI may want to choose this way but it does not start there.
      I am simply saying that the ways and means that exist as options today are obtuse and disfunctional and overcoming them will still leave the situation limited in its options and dsyfunctional in its ability to deal with another climate extreme. Investigating the possibilities to make Highlands, a non traditional shore town, a showcase for new and sustainable development has qualities that can help in the short and long terms.

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    • Can you give 2 -3 examples of specifically what you are talking about? Meaning, we all have to replace furnace/water heaters, going to an on demand reduces power and water consumption (plus it is smaller & sits up 4 feet off the floor- bonus in a flood zone) but I think you’re referring to things beyond that.

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    • I will offer some examples and I apologize for not making myself more clear (I have been following renewable energy creation for a while and I assumed that everyone else was as aware as I am about the possibilities of aggregated systems, say a town wide system in Highlands, to produce KW’s and MW’s of power and to “feed” this product back into the established public utility grid. This requires a “feed in tariff” legislative act the State level. In the interim there are current mandates in existing New Jersey law which requires the “public utilities” to produce a legally mandated percentage of their power each year from renewable sources. NJ utilities such as PS&G have created their own production as well as entered into contracts with large scale investors in solar and wind process’. The offshore wind proposal that has been rumoured and discussed off the coast of NJ being one such source. In other parts of the country, especially on the West coast, California and Oregon, primarily, communities have begun “aggregating” their resources to establish themselves as producers of renewable energy. If they have 50 homes with solar, or acres of town land they can develop as a solar array they bundle the produced power and sell it at an established rate back to the grid. Renovation in existing structures to make them more energy efficient, production from natural resources and a committment to maximized recylcing efforts on a community wide basis is providing jobs and revenue.
      The means of production do not have to be the massive wind turbines that can be imagined from public images but on a more feasabile scale, the Camden Aquarium, was outfitted with multiple small scale turbines that run along its roof line like gargoyles alomost a decade ago. The technology has advanced considerably since then. There are prototypes for small, easily deployable small as the “residential” wind turbines I mentioned above available to be deployed under the water to make use of tidal and wave activity. Highlands does not have to turn itself into a renewable energy producing panorama, water managemnt, energy management and sustainable living practices can be incorporated into a living, dynamic community benefitting the residents and municipal finances. Examples exist throughout the world and now is the time for the powers that are and the people who wish to remain to reach outside any box that they think exists and explore the next industrial/energy revolution. At the same time create a community that can survive the next event and serve as a showcase for all coastal communities whether they be boardwalk, beach club or financially endowed or not.

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  2. Besides the examples I mentioned in my reply I would also suggest visits to ICLEI.org web site, EDF.org website and a search with the keywords community renewable energy efforts and coastal adaptation to climate change.

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  3. In addition to energy and the availability of production possibilities, sustainable, private and public companies and NGO’s exist that have the expertise and tools to offer alternatives to the already overbooked Army Corp of Engineers who seem to once again be the only source for ideas being considered. The Dutch have been dealing with flooding in locations similar to Highlands for centuries. They are adapting to climate change, once again as we type.

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