Bill Text: NJ S2948 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires electric public utilities to provide training, equipment, indemnity, and reimbursement to certain municipal employees for moving and securing detached, above-ground distribution lines impeding vehicular traffic during lengthy power outages.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-09-21 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Economic Growth Committee [S2948 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S2948-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2948

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires electric public utilities to provide training, equipment, indemnity, and reimbursement to certain municipal employees for moving and securing detached, above-ground distribution lines impeding vehicular traffic during lengthy power outages.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain electric public utility operations 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):

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

     "Distribution line" means a primary electric voltage line, wire, or cable, including supporting structures and appurtenant facilities, which delivers electricity from transformation points on the transmission system to points of connection at a customer's premises, and is not considered a transmission line.

     "Electric public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that transmits and distributes electricity to end users within this State.

     "Major emergency event" means a natural or humanly caused occurrence arising from conditions beyond the control of the electric public utility, including but not limited to, a thunderstorm, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, heat wave, snowstorm, or ice storm, which results in: a. a sustained service interruption to at least five percent of the customers within an operating area or at least five percent of the utility's customers within a municipality or county located in an operating area; or b. the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the State or by the federal government.

     "Municipal emergency management coordinator" or "coordinator" means the person appointed pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1953, c.438 (C.App.A:9-40.1).

     "Operating area" means a defined geographical service territory where an electric public utility distributes electricity to end users as approved by the board.

     "Service interruption" means the cessation of electric public utility service by one or more customers.

     "Transmission line" means an electrical line, wire, or cable, including the supporting structures and appurtenant facilities, which transmits electricity from a generating plant to electric distribution lines with a rating usually exceeding 69 kilovolts.

 

     2.    a.  The board shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), and, consistent with federal law, rules, and regulations requiring each electric public utility to submit to the board a plan for the electric public utility's response to a major emergency event.  The board's rules and regulations shall require the electric public utility to:

     (1)   Properly train each municipal emergency management coordinator and any public works employee or other employee of a municipality designated by the governing body of a municipality located within the electric public utility's operating area, to receive the necessary certification under any applicable industry code or national electric industry practice, to move a disconnected, above-ground distribution line impeding vehicular traffic and protect the line from doing harm to life or property, and to provide those designated municipal employees with any necessary equipment to move and protect the distribution line and communicate on a real-time, two-way basis, with the electric public utility, until an electric public utility employee reattaches the distribution line;

     (2)   Indemnify, and if requested by the municipality, defend the municipality and those designated municipal employees against all claims made by any person for injuries or damages that may be caused or sustained by those designated municipal employees, during the course, or as a result, of moving a disconnected, above-ground distribution line impeding vehicular traffic and protecting the line from doing harm to life or property; and

     (3)   Reimburse a municipality, as applicable, at a rate of no less than half of those designated municipal employees' hourly wage rate, or the cost of the provision of services by any employee who is a volunteer equal to the rate for volunteer services under any applicable assistance program administered by the federal government, for the amount of time spent by the those designated municipal employees in moving and protecting the distribution line.

     b.    Any plan submitted by an electric public utility shall be subject to board review and approval.  In the event that the board disapproves a plan, the board shall provide, in writing, the electric public utility its reasons for disapproval.  If the board fails to approve or disapprove of the plan within 60 days of receipt of the plan, it shall be considered approved by the board.  Each electric public utility shall file a copy of an approved plan with the board.

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately, but remain inoperative for 60 days following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires an electric public utility (utility) to submit to the Board of Public Utilities (board) a plan for the utility's response to a major emergency event, which shall require the utility to: 1) properly train each municipal emergency management coordinator (coordinator) and any public works employee, or other employee of a municipality designated by the governing body of a municipality located within the utility's operating area, to receive the necessary certification under any applicable industry code or national electric industry practice, to move a disconnected, above-ground distribution line impeding vehicular traffic and protect the line from doing harm to life or property, and to provide those municipal employees with any necessary equipment to move and protect the distribution line and communicate on a real-time, two-way basis, with the utility, until a utility employee reattaches the distribution line; 2) indemnify, and if requested by the municipality, defend the municipality and those designated municipal employees against all claims made by any person for injuries or damages that may be caused or sustained by those designated municipal employees, during the course, or as a result, of moving a disconnected, above-ground distribution line impeding vehicular traffic and protecting the line from doing harm to life or property; and 3) reimburse a municipality, as applicable, at a rate of no less than half of those designated municipal employees' hourly wage rate, or the cost of the provision of services by any employee who is a volunteer equal to the rate for volunteer services under any applicable assistance program administered by the federal government, for the amount of time spent by the those designated municipal employees in moving and protecting the distribution line.

     The bill requires any plan submitted by a utility to be subject to board review and approval.  In the event that the board disapproves a plan, the board shall provide the utility, in writing, its reasons for disapproval.  If the board fails to approve or disapprove of the plan within 60 days of receipt of the plan, it shall be considered approved by the board.  Each utility shall file a copy of an approved plan with the board. 

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