Bill Text: NJ A4608 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires electric public utility to reimburse residential or commercial customer for cost of certain spoiled items resulting from service outage more than 48 hours after end of storm.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-09-14 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee [A4608 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-A4608-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 4608

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires electric public utility to reimburse residential or commercial customer for cost of certain spoiled items resulting from service outage more than 48 hours after end of storm.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning residential and commercial customer reimbursement for certain costs resulting from a sustained electric public utility service outage and supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  Beginning 90 days after the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), an electric public utility shall reimburse a residential or commercial customer who experiences a sustained interruption in electric service for the cost of spoiled food, prescription medicine, or perishable goods, as applicable pursuant to the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), due to lack of refrigeration caused by the sustained interruption.

     b.    A residential customer whose food or prescription medicine has spoiled due to a lack of refrigeration caused by a sustained interruption shall be entitled to a reimbursement for up to $540 of the actual cost of the spoiled food or prescription medicine, or both. A residential customer who requests a reimbursement, pursuant to subsection d. of this section, shall provide to the electric public utility an itemized list of the spoiled food or prescription medicine, or both, and proof of loss including, but not limited to, a cash register tape, store or credit card receipt, cancelled check, or photograph of the spoiled food item or prescription medicine. For prescription medicine, the residential customer shall provide to the utility a copy of a pharmacy prescription label or pharmacy receipt identifying the medicine.

     c.     A commercial customer whose perishable goods have spoiled due to a lack of refrigeration caused by a sustained interruption shall be entitled to a reimbursement for up to $10,700 of the cost of the perishable goods. A commercial customer who requests a reimbursement, pursuant to subsection d. of this section, shall provide to the electric public utility an itemized list of the spoiled perishable goods and proof of loss including, but not limited to, a cash register tape, store or credit card receipt, cancelled check, invoice, or photograph of the spoiled perishable goods.

     d.    No later than 90 days after the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), each electric public utility in the State shall develop and implement a system for customers of the utility to apply for a reimbursement online via the utility's Internet website. Applications for a reimbursement shall be made in a form and manner as determined by the board. 

     e.     Each electric public utility shall provide ice and water at a centralized location, free of charge, to a residential or commercial customer who experiences a sustained interruption in electrical service to mitigate loss of food, prescription drugs, or perishable goods, as applicable pursuant to the provisions of  P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     f.     An electric public utility shall not include in its rate base or otherwise recover from ratepayers the amount of the reimbursement or ice and water cost due to a customer pursuant to this section.

     g.    The board shall, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this section. 

     h.    As used in this section:

     "Board" means the Board of Public Utilities or any successor agency.

     "Electric public utility" or "utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that provides electric distribution service in this State.

     "Major event" means an occurrence arising from conditions beyond the control of an electric public utility that affect the operation of an electric public utility's distribution system, including, but not limited to, a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, flood, heat wave, snow storm, ice storm, earthquake, terrorist attack, or any other condition that the board determines, which results in a sustained interruption of utility service.

     "Perishable goods" means any item that spoils without sustained refrigeration.

     "Sustained interruption" means the cessation of electric public utility service to one or more customers lasting more than 48 consecutive hours after the conclusion of a major event where the electric public utility service cessation was caused by that major event. 

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires an electric public utility (utility) to reimburse a residential or commercial customer who experiences a sustained interruption in electric service lasting more than 48 hours for the cost of spoiled food, prescription medicine, or perishable goods, as applicable pursuant to the bill, due to lack of refrigeration caused by the sustained interruption. Under the bill, a residential customer whose food or prescription medicine spoils due to a lack of refrigeration caused by a sustained power outage would be entitled to a reimbursement of up to $540 for the cost of the spoiled food or prescription medicine. A residential utility customer would be required to submit to the utility an itemized list of losses, and proof of loss, as specified in the bill.

     A commercial customer whose perishable goods have spoiled due to a lack of refrigeration caused by a sustained interruption shall be entitled to a reimbursement for up to $10,700 of the cost of the perishable goods. A commercial customer would be required to submit to the utility an itemized list of losses, and proof of loss, as specified in the bill.

     No later than 90 days after the effective date of the bill, each utility in the State is required to develop and implement a system for customers of the utility to apply for a reimbursement online via the utility's Internet website. Applications for a reimbursement is to be made in a form and manner as determined by the Board of Public Utilities.

     Under the bill, each electric public utility is to provide ice and water, free of charge at a centralized location, to a residential or commercial customer who experiences a sustained interruption in electrical service to mitigate loss of food, prescription drugs, or perishable goods, as applicable pursuant to the bill.

     An electric public utility is not to include in its rate base or otherwise recover from ratepayers the amount of the reimbursement or ice and water cost due to a customer pursuant to the bill.

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