TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie says New Jersey’s power providers must do a better job responding to weather emergencies — or pay the price.

Christie on Wednesday proposed legislation that would help protect utility customers from experiencing extended outages after storms, and would significantly increase fines if the utilities fail to deliver.

The utilities were slow to restore power New Jersey customers left in the dark by Hurricane Irene a year ago and a freak autumn snowstorm two months later.

A preliminary review by the Board of Public Utilities recommended that the four publicly regulated utilities add more staff during storms, use social media to keep customers informed and reach out to those with disabilities.

Some JCP&L customers waited more than a week before power was restored.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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