Senate President Steve Sweeney has taken exception to Governor Christie's comments during his state of emergency declaration about a bill that would hike the fines against utility companies for poor performance following a storm.

Governor Christie declares a state of emergency in anticipation of Sandy (WPVI TV)

Speaking at the East Keansburg fire station, Christie urged residents to have patience with utilities if the expected power outages develop after Sandy strikes the state. But he warned that he will be monitoring their progress carefully for any unnecessary delays in restoration. He mentioned a bill that would set "reliability standards" for how electricity is provided and restored that was presented following Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm.

Christie said it's up to the legislative leadership to get the bill passed. In a press release, Sweeney wrote, "Instead of pointing fingers, we need to focus on protecting the residents of New Jersey.  Considering that Governor Christie and the Board of Public Utilities already have broad powers to ensure reliability and recovery,  the governor needs to worry less about criticizing others, and more about an orderly and timely response to the events that lie ahead."

The bill would include fines of up to $25,000 per day of avoidable power outage during emergency, up to $2 million per storm. Under current law fines are limited to $100 day according to The Record.