Princeton officials have opened the main meeting room at the Township , as a temporary reception area for residents who have been temporarily displaced from their homes. The main floor will be open and stocked with coffee, light food and power is available to charge small electronics.
Anyone needing long-term or more permanent shelter should contact the Joint Princeton Emergency Operations Center through the Township Police Department at 609-921-2100.
Around town, crews spent Wednesday working to reopen roads and clear power lines. A crane and crews were out during the afternoon to open the remainder of the major arteries, including Witherspoon Street, after a large tree fell and blocked the intersection at Wiggins Street. Most other roads are waiting for assistance from PSE&G to remove or turn off power.
The utility told officials during a conference call Wednesday that it expects to make major progress in restoring service over the next 24-48 hours but there will be pockets that will take much longer to restore.
PSE&G planned to work through the night.
Crews work to restore power to the largest numbers of customers first, taking into account “priority” customers such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, water and sewer facilities, communications facilities (TV, radio, and telephone), and customers on life-sustaining medical equipment. At the same time, the utility restores power to homes and businesses, starting with the circuits serving the largest number of customers.
Police and municipal officials residents to curtail driving as traffic has been a major issue since many of the intersections with signal lights have no power.
Please do NOT handle any wires that are on the street or in the trees. Assume that all wires are live and dangerous. Do not attempt to cut or remove a tree that is, or could become, entangled with power lines.
Princeton Public Schools will be closed on Thursday. Municipal offices will be open with limited services. There will be a grace period for tax collection.
Borough trash collection will be collected as scheduled.
The Mercer County Office of Emergency Management estimates that about 90 percent of the approximately 150,000 electrical customers in the county lost power during the storm. As of Wednesday morning, power had been restored to nearly half of those customers.
With so many still without power and more than 90 traffic signals are inoperable throughout the county. All county government offices and courts will be closed on Thursday and Friday, County Executive Brian M. Hughes said.
For a map of road closures in Mercer County, visit http://goo.gl/maps/p5VH9.
A Preliminary Damage Assessment of local and county government expenditures related to Hurricane Sandy protective measures and cleanup estimates the figures to be in excess of $2.5 million. No Mercer County municipality was spared.
Illegal gas hikes have been reported in Mercer County. Merchants may not raise prices more than once in a 24-hour period. Any station caught in violation of these measures will be fined by and ordered to stop selling gasoline until corrective action has been completed, Hughes said. Residents should call (609) 989-6579 to report suspected violations at gas stations.
Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing is open and operational today.
Beware of unscrupulous contractors and scammers.
“Before entering into any contract, I urge homeowners to be skeptical and to investigate whether the contractor is licensed, insured and registered,” Hughes said.
Also, note the following additional tips:
1. Call the Division of Consumer Affairs to learn whether the contractor has been the subject of any consumer complaints.
2. Demand a written contract. Don’t sign or pay for anything unless you understand and agree to all of the terms and conditions, including the fine print. Be sure to carefully review the list of materials that will be used.
3. Never pay the full price up-front.
4. Demand ID from anyone who claims to be from a utility company and wishes to inspect your home.
5. Never give your credit card number to strangers over the phone or Internet.
6. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs at (609) 989-6671 or go to www.mercercounty.org. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs can be reached at (800) 242-5846 or by visiting www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov.