UPDATE: 9:40 p.m.
Power should be restored to residences and businesses affected by the JCP&L sub station fire in New Providence within the next four hours, said New Providence Mayor J. Brooke Hern.
JCP&L spokesman John Anderson confirmed Monday night that power is beginning to restore and all customers should have it back by 2 a.m. Tuesday.
In a phone interview around 9:15 p.m., Hern called this "a pretty severe blowout of the sub station" at the corner of Mountain Avenue and Ryder Way in New Providence, the cause of which is still unknown.
"There are two [capacitor] banks up there and both of them have gone out. There was briefly a fire but that was extinguished," he said. "There’s also some internal damage that’s very significant and unusual, and so it may take a considerable amount of time to get the sub station working again. But the power company is now backfeeding power through lines from other sub stations to temporarily restore power in the meantime."
In the meantime, JCP&L has called in back-up teams to speed up the restoration process, Hern said, and JCP&L will bring in a mobile sub station if the restoration process takes longer than expected.
"The backfeeding process that’s coming from other sub stations through the street lines is a very temporary process and they need to find something to be a longer, short term solution," Hern said. "As far as residents are concerned, JCP&L is hopeful that everybody will be back online within four hours and there won’t be any other disturbances through the rest of the restoration process."
A JCP&L sub station fire in New Providence — which has since been extinguished — has been noted as the cause of lost power in both Berkeley Heights and New Providence tonight, according to Berkeley Heights Mayor Joseph Bruno.
Mayor Bruno, who is one of those affected, told Patch in a phone interview that JCP&L expects power to return by 10:30 p.m. this evening. Bruno said the areas affected include Mountain Ave. to Rt. 78.
JCP&L spokesman John Anderson said 4,000 customers have lost power in New Providence and Berkeley Heights combined. Bruno said about 1,800 of those customers are Berkeley Heights residents.
"We lost power to one of our substations and we've got crews en route to see what we can figure out," Anderson said. He did not confirm the cause of the outage or when power would be restored.
Berkeley Heights police are on the scene directing traffic in areas where stop lights have lost power.
Mayor Bruno also noted that there are no trees or power lines down and that the business area along Springfield Avenue was not affected.