Bill Text: NJ A1212 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Directs public utilities and pipeline operators to reimburse municipalities for certain emergency services.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-01-14 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee [A1212 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-A1212-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 1212

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE CHAPARRO

District 33 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Directs public utilities and pipeline operators to reimburse municipalities for certain emergency services.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning public utilities and pipeline operators and supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    As used in sections 1 and 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "Emergency" means any circumstance caused by a person or event, except any natural disaster, which includes, but is not limited to, fire, flood, earthquake, or storm, resulting in the escape of a conveyed commodity from a pipeline that constitutes a clear and present danger to life, health, or property.

     "Emergency services" means the provision of services by municipal law enforcement, firefighting, paramedic, and medical personnel, including volunteer personnel, provided by a municipal authority to ensure the health or safety of a person or property during an emergency.

     "Pipeline" means any privately owned pipeline, above or below ground, placed on a right-of-way, easement, public street, other public place, or private property that is being used or will be used for the conveyance of a commodity distributed by a public utility.

     "Public utility" means a public utility as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13.

 

     2.    a.  Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, a public utility shall reimburse a municipality for all actual and related costs a municipality incurs in providing emergency services to respond to any emergency involving a pipeline conveying a commodity distributed by the public utility in the public utility's service area.  With the exception of volunteer personnel, a public utility shall reimburse a municipality for the cost of emergency services equal to the hourly wages of the emergency services personnel.  A public utility shall reimburse a municipality for the cost of emergency services by any volunteer at a rate equal to that of volunteer services under any applicable assistance program administered by the federal government.  A public utility's reimbursement to a municipality for emergency services shall not be recoverable from ratepayers.

     b.    In a civil action brought against a public utility to recover financial losses sustained during an emergency, the court, in its discretion, may award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of suit incurred by a plaintiff recovering judgment.  A public utility's payment of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of suit shall not be recoverable from ratepayers.

     c.     The provisions of this section shall only apply to public utilities under the jurisdiction or control of the Board of Public Utilities.

     3.    As used in sections 3 and 4 of P.L.      , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "Emergency" means any circumstance caused by a person or event, except any natural disaster, which includes, but is not limited to, fire, flood, earthquake, or storm, resulting in the escape of a conveyed commodity from an underground facility that constitutes a clear and present danger to life, health, or property.

     "Emergency services" means the provision of services by municipal law enforcement, firefighting, paramedic, and medical personnel, including volunteer personnel, provided by a municipal authority to ensure the health or safety of a person or property during an emergency.

     "Operator" means a privately owned company, association, or corporation owning or controlling the operation of a pipeline, but shall not include a homeowner who owns only residential pipelines.

     "Pipeline" means any privately owned pipeline, above or below ground, placed on a right-of-way, easement, public street, other public place, or private property that is being used or will be used for the conveyance of water, sewage, telecommunications, cable television, electricity, oil, petroleum products, gas, optical signals, traffic control, or for the transportation of hazardous liquid regulated pursuant to the "Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979" (49 U.S.C.app. s.2001 et seq.).

 

     4.    a.  Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, an operator shall reimburse a municipality for all actual and related costs a municipality incurs in providing emergency services to respond to any emergency involving a pipeline managed by the operator.  With the exception of volunteer personnel, an operator shall reimburse a municipality for the cost of emergency services equal to the hourly wages of the emergency services personnel.  An operator shall reimburse a municipality for the cost of emergency services by any volunteer at a rate equal to that of volunteer services under any applicable assistance program administered by the federal government.

     b.    In a civil action brought against an operator to recover financial losses sustained during an emergency, the court, in its discretion, may award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of suit incurred by a plaintiff recovering judgment.

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill directs public utilities and pipeline operators to reimburse municipalities for all actual and related costs a municipality incurs in providing emergency services to respond to any emergency involving a pipeline.  With the exception of volunteer personnel, the bill directs public utilities and pipeline operators to reimburse a municipality for the cost of emergency services equal to the hourly wages of the emergency services personnel.  The bill directs public utilities and pipeline operators to reimburse a municipality for the cost of emergency services by any volunteer at a rate equal to that of volunteer services under any applicable assistance program administered by the federal government.

     In this bill, "emergency" means any circumstance caused by a person or event, except any natural disaster, which includes, but is not limited to, fire, flood, earthquake, or storm, resulting in the escape of a conveyed commodity from a pipeline that constitutes a clear and present danger to life, health, or property.  "Emergency services" means the provision of services by municipal law enforcement, firefighting, paramedic, and medical personnel, including volunteer personnel, provided by a municipal authority to ensure the health or safety of a person or property during an emergency.

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