Bill Text: NJ A815 | 2022-2023 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Prohibits electric, gas, or water public utility service discontinuances to residential customers during certain epidemics.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 5-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-01-11 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee [A815 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2022-A815-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 815

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2022 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  BRITNEE N. TIMBERLAKE

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  SHANIQUE SPEIGHT

District 29 (Essex)

Assemblywoman  ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Karabinchak and Assemblywoman Murphy

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits electric, gas, or water public utility service discontinuances to residential customers during certain epidemics.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning certain public utility service discontinuances to residential customers during certain epidemics 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 P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "Epidemic" means an outbreak of a disease of unusual virulence characterized by very widespread growth or extent, which has a significant impact on this State, resulting in the Governor declaring a public health emergency and a state of emergency.

     "Public health emergency" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 2 of P.L.2005, c.222 (C.26:13-2).

     "Public utility" means a public utility, as defined in R.S.48:2-13, that provides electric, gas, or water service.

     "Public utility emergency" means any condition constituting a potential danger to life, health, or property requiring a public utility to immediately discontinue or interrupt electric or water service or that results in an unscheduled discontinuance or interruption in electric or water service.

     "Residential customer" means a residential public utility customer of record and, if known to the public utility, any residential tenant of a multifamily residence having two or more units where the owner of that residence is a non-residential customer of record.

     "State of emergency" means declaration of an emergency by the Governor pursuant to P.L.1942, c.251 (C.App.A:9-33 et seq.).

 

     2.    a. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary, except when a public utility experiences a public utility emergency, a public utility shall not discontinue service to a residential customer for public utility bill nonpayment during an epidemic.  A public utility shall resume service, as soon as practicable, during an epidemic, to any residential customer whose service was discontinued prior to the existence of an epidemic and who is located at the same residence where the service was discontinued prior to the epidemic.

     b.    The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall no longer apply upon the Governor rescinding a declared public health emergency and a state of emergency in response to an epidemic that the Governor determines to be no longer in existence.

     c.     A residential customer who does not pay in full a public utility bill on or before the date the bill is due during an epidemic shall be liable for any bill payment balance for service rendered by the public utility once the Governor determines that the epidemic no longer exists.

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill prohibits an electric, gas, or water public utility (utility) from discontinuing service to a residential customer for utility bill nonpayment during an epidemic, such as during the outbreak of Coronavirus 2019, except when the utility experiences a utility emergency.  A utility is to resume service, as soon as practicable, during an epidemic, to any residential customer whose service was discontinued prior to the existence of an epidemic and who is located at the same residence where the service was discontinued prior to the epidemic.  This prohibition is no longer to apply once the Governor declares a public health emergency and a state of emergency due to the epidemic no longer exists.  The bill provides that a residential customer who does not pay in full a utility bill on or before the date the bill is due during an epidemic is liable for any bill payment balance for service rendered by the public utility once the Governor determines that the epidemic no longer exists.  The bill defines the terms "epidemic," "residential customer." and "utility emergency."

feedback