So here you are without power, freaking out, looking for answers. Then you look out your window and see a bunch of PSE&G workers hanging around doing nothing.

Before you freak out further, figure they didn't just gather to have a cold one. Pat, an unidentified worker from Central Jersey called New Jersey 101.5 to explain the safety protocol workers must go through before they can begin to address the problem, but to the public looks like a bunch of workers sitting around doing nothing:

"We're really [big] on safety," Pat said. "They need to get the 'permission to work' tag. It's a safety tagging thing that keeps guys alive...that line that they're about to work on has to be properly cleared, tagged, shorted, and grounded...your perception, I can see it. I can see your frustration."

Like me, Pat is not a fan of the automated system:

I don't agree with the automated thing."

Pat also says you can be part of the solution, if you see something say something:

"If they're there and they see something flash, if you call us we can respond quicker. We really need you to help."

And here's an e-mail I received from PSE&G:

Dear Customer,

PSE&G is working around the clock to restore power to customers affected by last night’s storm. Heavy winds caused large trees to fall on power lines and our crews, as well as mutual aid crews, are working to bring power back to everyone as quickly and safely as possible. As of this morning 185,000 customers have been restored with roughly 55,000 customers still affected. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

For the status of power outages and estimated restoration times, visit or text “STAT” to 47734. To receive outage updates, be sure you are registered for MyAlerts. You can register online in our Outage Center, or text “REG” to 47734. Please have your account number handy.

PSE&G has set up mobile customer service centers, located at 34 Municipal Drive in Lumberton and 1 Municipal Drive in Bordentown, to provide customer service assistance, ice and water.

Your safety is our top priority. We remind everyone to stay away from downed wires and always assume they are energized. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, do not run gasoline-powered generators in an enclosed space. Lastly, if you (or someone in your household) rely on electricity to operate life sustaining equipment, it is important that you notify us and that you are making alternate plans. Call 1-800-436-7734.

Hopefully there will be a human being to listen.

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