TOMS RIVER – Ocean County officials aren’t crying over spilt milk but they are calling for Governor Phil Murphy to go after power companies to pay up when it comes to citizen reimbursement for food spoiled during Tropical Storm Isaias.
The spoiled food came as a result of lengthy power outages from Isaias which hit the area on August 4.
Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said that when power interruptions occur for several days, “we cannot expect our residents, especially our senior citizens to go without some kind of reimbursement for food lost as a result of no electricity.”
Vicari who serves as chairman of Senior Services said, “many of our residents had stocked up on food because of the coronavirus pandemic and they are concerned about leaving their home to go to the food stores. Now all the additional money spent on the extra food is basically in the garbage and so many elderly people living on fixed incomes do not have the money to replace it.”
“We need the utility companies to step up and help out,” Vicari noted adding that food only lasts in a closed refrigerator for about four to six hours at best.
Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Health Department, addressed the issue with Governor Murphy’s staff on August 7. Power outages continue to be widespread across the state, and more than 150,000 homes were affected in Ocean County. Power is being restored gradually throughout the area.
Electricity is provided to the majority of County residents through Jersey Central Power & Light Co. and Atlantic City Electric. Public Service Electric & Gas provides power to northern areas of the state.
Little added that the hardship to so many of our residents is tremendous. The utility companies are a business and like all businesses they face liabilities. They should be responsible for this. They should provide help in this hardship situation.”
Little and Vicari are expected to write a letter to the Governor urging him to seek compensation for customers that lost food.
Vicari added that in addition to purchasing greater amounts of food due to limiting going food shopping, consumers have seen an increase in the price paid for food.
“We understand how powerful storms can be. But when power outages continue for days, our residents need to know they will get help from the companies they pay monthly for electricity,” Vicari added.
Senior Communications Representative Cliff Cole told Jersey Shore Online that “unfortunately, we do not reimburse for food loss expenses incurred during a weather-related power outage. We suggest inquiring with your insurance company to determine if your policy covers such losses.”