What we have here is a failure to communicate. That was the major complaint from New Jerseyans who endured lengthy power outages after super-storm Sandy.

Many residents said they just wanted to know when the lights would go back on or when they could expect crews to be working in their neighborhoods, but that information was difficult and sometimes impossible to get from the utility companies.

Testifying today before the State Senate Budget Committee, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities president Bob Hanna said, “There are ways to communicate the information to the public in this day and age certainly. We have facebook, twitter, the Internet. We have reverse 9-1-1. That is not the problem. We can get the information. The problem is the utilities are not generating the information in way that is going to be useful to the public.”

Hanna says often times the utilities didn’t have any information about the estimated time of restoration for customers, but unbelievably and “worse yet” they sometimes gave incorrect information. He says, “We have to do better. We will do better. The grade on communications is still an ‘F.’”

PSE&G president and CEO Ralph LaRossa and JCP&L president Don Lynch both agree that communications should be improved and both say they are working to make that happen as quickly as possible.