The Special Reliability Master hired by the State Board of Public Utilities last fall to look into why so many underground explosions had been plaguing Morristown has returned with a full report, Mayor Tim Dougherty said on Friday afternoon.
Dougherty said he planned on going through the report–which he called extensive–over the weekend and would be holding a press conference to go over the report and recommendations in detail Monday afternoon.
The BPU voted unanimously in September to request Jersey Central Power & Light appoint a "special master" to investigate the rash of underground explosions that have occurred in Morristown, which culminated in September with a Morris Township resident requiring medical attention .
Judy Stein-Loewenthal, of Morris Township, provided testimony to the board in September regarding her injury from the manhole cover explosion, saying she had to be taken to the hospital for burns sustained to her arm, which was in contact with the fire that shot out of the manhole immediately following the explosion.
It was not the only incident, but rather the most recent. At the time of the explosion, Dougherty noted his administration had "been screaming for 19 months, since I took office. Especially since ."
, in June 2011, saw thick black smoke spew from a grate outside and shut down South Street. That incident and another earlier in 2011,
Dougherty said the final report from the Special Master was pretty detailed, hence why he wanted to take the weekend to pour through it.
"Obviously, JCP&L is going to have to do a lot of work," he said.
The mayor thanked the BPU for taking the issue seriously, as well as Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Anthony Bucco Sr. and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr. for their ongoing support on the issue.
In a press release issued Friday by JCP&L, Donald Lynch, president of the utility, said the Special Master report "provides a thorough analysis and offers valued recommendations.
"We worked with the BPU staff and the Special Reliability Master (SRM) who performed the review, as the report was developed and will continue to update them and Morristown officials on our progress," Lynch said in the release. The release goes on to state that the submitted report notes the underground network meets design, construction and reliability standards for U.S. electric utilities and outlined recommended enhancements to underground equipment and engineering, operations and inspection practices.
Ron Morano, public relations manager for JCP&L, said the utility has already started implementing recommendations made in the report.
"We are committed to completing all the recommendations and making improvements," he said. "We take this matter very seriously."