HICKSVILLE - LIPA's chief operating officer was on the defense today after state and local officials said the utility has failed its customers.National Grid President John Bruckner and LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey held a press conference this afternoon to update the public on restoration efforts, pledging that 99 percent of customers will be back online by Tuesday night. They also said most flood zone outages should be repaired by late tonight.Bruckner and Hervey admitted they initially didn't have enough inspectors, but said they don't have a shortage of poles or wires.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced earlier today that he has cut all communication with LIPA leadership, citing a lack of communication. He says he has sent his own safety inspectors into neighborhoods and that they are now communicating directly with LIPA substations.Hervey would not comment on Bellone's announcement other than to say there is no "ad hoc takeover."Hervey did admit that LIPA did not communicate adequately with customers after the storm. He says they have infrastructure in place to make sure lack of communication doesn't happen again, but says the new system won't be implemented until next year.VIDEO: Exec. Bellone on LIPA effortsComptroller: LIPA unprepared for storm restoration