Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Improving Communication After NJ Disasters [AUDIO]

After Hurricane Irene and then again after Superstorm Sandy, tens of thousands of New Jersey families were without power for days. A new bill moving through the state legislature could make it easier for those families to know when they can go back home.

Downed Power Lines
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

The bill requires every public utility, telecommunications company, and cable company to submit annual written requests to its customers, in order to obtain alternate contact information not associated with those customers’ accounts and facilitate communication in the case of a service interruption or emergency.

“The purpose of the bill is to actually notify folks when power is out in a reasonable period of time, and keep them up to date as to what is going on and what the situation is,” said Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union), the bill’s sponsor. “This will help ensure consumers have an understanding as to when the power and/or the service will be restored. This isn’t for the guy who’s out of power for ten minutes or didn’t have his cable for ten minutes.”

Under the bill, “emergency” is defined as:

  • Anytime the entity’s service is interrupted or is in immediate danger of being interrupted by the elements, or
  • The declaration of a state of emergency, or disaster, by either the state or federal government.

“You provide a reasonable alternative way of communication — your cell, an email — and the obligation is on the company to provide information in a reasonable timeframe when the power goes out,” said Cryan. “As we learned during Sandy, lots of folks had their smartphones, but didn’t have the opportunity for information to be provided to them.”

Customers are not required to submit the alternate contact information.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Best of NJ101.5

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for New Jersey Insiders quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive New Jersey Insiders contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.