The bill, sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angel Fuentes and Wayne DeAngelo directs every electric public utility doing business in New Jersey, upon the direction of the Board of Public Utilities, to prepare and file a street light outage plan within the utility’s service territory.
“The plan is meant to provide reasonably prompt reporting of street light outages,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This is a reasonable request, with today’s technology, to improve public safety. This is important in our urban areas, but also of course in our suburban areas, especially amid the ongoing rash of metal theft.”
“People deserve to know whether these utilities are planning properly to resolve street light outages in a prompt and safe fashion,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Education and information, after all, is always a good thing.”
The plan may include the following:
· Methods to inform and educate the public and local officials concerning utilization of the utility’s existing street light outage reporting system;
· Methods to identify and monitor street light outages in areas where outages may occur with increased frequency due to human interference, or where street light outages may pose an increased risk to public safety. A utility is to engage local elected officials and law enforcement as appropriate;
· Information regarding factors which contribute to the cost, timing, and manner of work required for street light outage restoration, such as whether restoration may involve the maintenance or repair of equipment that is located underground; and
· Any method to improve the reporting and restoration of street light outages, which the utility determines is reasonable.
The General Assembly approved the measure 71-1. The bill was released on February 6th by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee chaired by DeAngelo.