Bill Text: NJ S3029 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: "Linda's Law"; prohibits electric public utilities from discontinuing service to customers using life-sustaining equipment with verification of use of equipment.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 5-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-06-20 - Substituted by A4430/4555 (ACS/1R) [S3029 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3029-Amended.html

[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 3029

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED OCTOBER 15, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH F. VITALE

District 19 (Middlesex)

Senator  NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Senator  M. TERESA RUIZ

District 29 (Essex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Singleton

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     "Linda's Law"; prohibits electric public utilities from discontinuing service to customers using life-sustaining equipment with verification of use of equipment.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As amended by the Senate on June 10, 2019.

 


An Act concerning 1[certain] electric1 public utility service discontinuances, and designated as "Linda's Law," 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.

     "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.

     "Emergency" means any condition constituting a 1[clear and present] potential1 danger to life, health, or property requiring 1[a] an electric1 public utility to immediately discontinue or interrupt service or 1[provide] that results in1 an unscheduled discontinuance or interruption in 1electric1 service 1[caused by a sudden natural or man-made disaster or related event]1.

     "Medical customer" means a residential 1electric public1 utility customer of record who 1uses life-sustaining equipment powered by electricity, as determined by the board, at the customer's address and1 affirmatively responds to a request for information pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     2.    a. An electric public utility shall request from every residential customer, on a semi-annual basis, information, determined by the board, as to whether the residential customer, or any person living at the residential customer's address, uses life-sustaining equipment powered by electricity at the residential customer's address.  If a residential customer responds to the utility's request for information indicating 1that1 the residential customer or a person living at the residential customer's address uses life-sustaining equipment powered by electricity, the utility shall designate that residential customer as a medical customer.

     b.    1[Except when a utility experiences an emergency, a utility shall not discontinue service to a medical customer for utility bill nonpayment] Discontinuance of electric service for nonpayment is prohibited for a period of 90 days,1 if a medical customer's condition would be aggravated by a discontinuance of electric service.  1[A utility shall require] The board may extend the 90-day period of time in which a discontinuance of electric service is prohibited for an additional period of time for good cause.  The board shall determine which types of licensed medical professionals are able to sign a medical certification needed to avoid the discontinuance of electric service pursuant to this section and shall establish conditions that shall apply to the prohibition on a discontinuance of electric service to a medical customer that shall include, but not be limited to, provisions requiring1 the medical customer to:

     (1)   provide reasonable proof of an inability to pay a utility bill on or before the bill's due date; and

     (2)   1[semi-annually]1 submit a written 1[physician's] licensed medical professional's1 statement to the utility, stating:

     (a)   the existence of the medical customer's use of life-sustaining equipment powered by electricity at the medical customer's premises 1and the probable duration of that use1;

     (b)   the nature of the condition of the medical customer and its probable duration, only if the disclosure of the information is not otherwise prohibited by law; and

     (c)   that the discontinuance of service to the medical customer will aggravate the condition of the medical customer.

 

     3.    A medical customer who does not pay in full 1[a] an electric public1 utility bill on or before the date the bill is due shall be liable for any bill payment balance for service rendered by the utility 1, in accordance with a utility's tariff1.

 

     14.   The board shall direct each electric public utility to develop a customer outreach plan, subject to board approval, that shall inform customers of the process for qualifying as a medical customer pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).1

 

     15.   An electric public utility shall be excused from compliance with the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) in the event of an emergency or if, despite compliance by the utility with the requirements of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the medical customer fails or refuses to respond to a request for information by the utility pursuant to section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).1

 

     16.   Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the board shall, within 180 days after the enactment of P.L.     , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), adopt rules and regulations implementing the provisions of P.L.     , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The rules and regulations adopted by the board shall be effective as rules regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 24 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted, or readopted by the board pursuant to the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).1

 

     1[4.] 7.1     This act shall take effect 1[immediately, but shall remain inoperative for 60 days following] on the 180th day after1 the date of enactment 1, except for section 6 of this act which shall take effect immediately1.

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