UNION – State Sen. Raymond Lesniak released legislation today that is intended to prevent New Jersey residents from suffering future large scale, extended power outages like those experienced last month following Superstorm Sandy.
“Our power distribution infrastructure is antiquated,” Lesniak (D-Union) said. “This legislation will protect our electrical systems from the devastating disruptions caused by hurricanes like Sandy and Irene. It will also assess penalties against utility companies which do not comply with it.”
The proposed bill would require utilities to submit an infrastructure improvement plan and a reliability plan to the Board of Public Utilities no later than 180 days after it passes. Utilities would also be required to meet standards of “acceptable performance” set by the Board of Public Utilities.
“The legislation will require utility companies to fortify its substations and switching stations to make them immune from the flooding that occurred during both the Sandy and Irene hurricanes, require redundancy technology to access alternate sources of power generation, require installation of smart meters which will alert the utilities to power outages, identify the location of its source, and notify consumers when their power is likely to be restored. It will also require the adoption and implementation of a tree pruning and removal program to eliminate likely sources of power disruption during fierce hurricanes,” Lesniak said.
“I saw and heard the pain and suffering of my neighbors and constituents who were cold, hungry, and fearful not knowing when to expect the restoration of electricity into their homes,” Lesniak added. “This legislation is designed to not allow that happen again.”