Although many people made it through tropical storm Isaias without an issue, happily cooking and watching TV, oblivious to the pain that the rest of us were going through, many New Jerseyans have been without power since the storm.

And some of us have been without power, and then with, and then without, and then with again. Since superstorm Sandy you would have thought that the major utilities would have figured out a way to estimate power restoration dates. With all the flak they got and all the confusion back then, I thought they would have taken these years to perfect or at least work on a system that would be better than what we had last time.

But alas, it was not to be. There was as much chaos and confusion and questions this time as there were during Sandy.

The only difference this time was that there was a magic date. For most people that date is Tuesday, Aug. 11. I noticed the date Tuesday, Aug. 11 showing up on a lot of the restoration forecasts for JCP&L in many different towns. I spoke to friends who had gone through outages in other cities and even other counties in New Jersey and they all named Aug. 11 as a target date for their power going back on. Then I realized something. The utility was hedging its bet. Since they really had no way to predict and didn’t want to hear customers calling them off the hook and whining and pestering them for a day they named the date furthest out. The latest day that they could possibly guess that things would be fixed.

Basically, they gave themselves a week. In my opinion this was an arbitrary date but at least to give people something to hope for — a way to plan. So, if you’re still without power, take heart. At least you have a target date to hope for. For many people, for whom power was restored earlier than Aug. 11, the psychology worked and they had a welcome surprise. But for those people who now had to plan for a week out of their homes only to return the next day and see the lights on, this was a dirty trick.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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