|Oroho Bill to Help Utilities Trim Trees to Prevent Power Outages Passes Committee
Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to ensure the ability of electric utility companies to trim branches and trees around power lines to prevent unnecessary outages has passed the Senate Economic Growth Committee. Oroho said that following repeated lengthy power outages this past winter as well as several other recent storms, it’s imperative to eliminate bureaucratic red tape that might prevent utilities from conducting preventative vegetation maintenance that can decrease the frequency and length of power outages.
“Having consistent, dependable power is paramount to New Jersey families, particularly during nasty weather conditions,” Oroho (R-24) said. “Overgrown trees and shrubs often tend to be the culprits when your power goes out during a storm. Removing some of the bureaucracy will help utility companies to engage in the preventative maintenance that’s needed to guarantee access to lifesaving utilities regardless of the elements.”
Oroho’s bipartisan legislation, S-2505, jointly sponsored by Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36) authorizes an electric public utility to use all available methods to maintain and remove hazardous vegetation. It also establishes a municipal program to develop effective strategies to implement the provisions of this bill.
Further, it clarifies that neither the Community Forestry Council nor any county or municipal shade tree commission may interfere with or restrict an electric public utility’s removal, replacement, or maintenance of dangerous vegetation. It does not allow utilities to clear-cut vegetation that does not interfere with power lines.
This legislation comes in the wake of a brutal winter storm season that left tens of thousands of New Jersey residents without heat, hot water, and refrigeration for days at a time.
“Long duration power outages like those we experienced this winter can be especially dangerous for seniors, small children, and those with disabilities,” added Oroho. “That’s why it’s a matter of public safety to ensure the reliability of our electric power grid. So New Jersey must take all available steps to keep the power on during weather emergencies in order to keep people safe.”
The identical Assembly legislation, A-2558, is sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14), Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-24), and Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24).
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