The anti-PSE&G banners are waving from houses on Gray Street, and a spray painted message greets visitors turning onto the street from Glen Ridge: “NJSA 48:3 PSE&G IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW. SHOW FINAL PLAN [illegible] OR LEAVE.” Residents were tipped that PSE&G trucks would show up today — and they did — but workers say they are just there to fix a gas leak. Indeed, a strong gas smell did permeate the air on the Montclair side of the street.
Residents were not out on the street, protesting vocally. But one, Ola Adedipe, driving by, stopped for an interview. “The city sold us out,” he said, referring to Montclair’s settlement with PSE&G following a hearing at the Board of Public Utilities in Trenton.
As for the workers being on the street just to fix a gas leak, he asserted, “That is not true. It’s a lie.”
He also had a racial theory on the PSE&G v. Gray Street issue. “This used to be a slave street,” he said. “The slaves lived with the [rich people’s] horses. It’s a shame. Everything in America is color coded, black and white, rich and poor.”
NJSA 48:3 refers to a law allowing gas-lit communities, like Glen Ridge, to refuse power lines — something that Glen Ridge residents on the street want the borough to invoke. Mayor Peter Hughes has said he opposes using the measure.
This summer, residents of the street came home to find mature oak trees cut down to make way for new power lines. They assert that their street — part of which is in Monclair, and part in Glen Ridge — is being used to upgrade power service to the Glen Ridge Country Club.