NEW JERSEY – In light of the damage caused by numerous, disruptive storms that have ravaged much of the state in recent years, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) that would allow electric utility companies to trim trees around power lines in order to prevent unnecessary power outages.
Senator Oroho noted that during the brutal winter season of last year, tens of thousands of New Jerseyans were left without heat, hot water, and refrigeration for days at a time.
“Overgrown branches and shrubs are often the cause of unexpected power outages. We saw firsthand the damage that falling limbs can cause during the onslaught of severe weather events in our district in recent years,” Oroho said. “We must remove the red tape that prevents utility companies from trimming trees and managing troublesome vegetation. Passing this legislation gives us an important tool in helping to protect our homes and families from dealing with widespread power outages.”
Oroho’s bipartisan legislation, S-2505, would authorize an electric public utility to use all available methods to maintain and remove hazardous vegetation. S-2505 would also establish a municipal program to develop effective strategies to implement the provisions of this bill.
The legislation would not allow utilities to clear-cut vegetation that does not interfere with power lines.
“If you’re waiting to be rescued during a storm, a fallen branch can be the difference between an ambulance arriving in minutes, or hours. By then, it might be too late. Power line maintenance is a public safety issue, and it’s one that we must address before the next big storm arrives,” Oroho said.
The identical Assembly legislation also enjoys bipartisan support, and is co-sponsored by Senator Oroho’s district colleagues, Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space.
Senator Oroho’s legislation can be found HERE.