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Power Protection Featured Article

November 15, 2012

State Senator Fights for New Jersey by Proposing Power Protection Act

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Contributing Writer

State Senator Kevin O’Toole is far from backing down and forgetting about the recent damage done to New Jersey. In fact, he’s now fighting toward implementing and is sponsoring the New Jersey Residents Power Protection Act (RPPA), which would essentially hold utility companies accountable for their response times during emergencies such as Halloween’s Hurricane Sandy.

In addition to narrowing in on the performance of utility companies in the state, it would also require gas stations and other facilities to have generators on hand to make sure that residents have access to power and gasoline during emergency situations, as reported by WaynePatch today. By proposing legislation to cut down on the long lines at gas stations, those fighting toward making the Power Protection Act a reality hope to ease future preparation efforts to help better serve those severely impacted in the state.

In his defense, O’Toole describes the days following Sandy’s wrath as “apocalyptic,” adding that “sometimes, there was no evidence of any activity by the power companies at all.”

O’Toole is currently corresponding with several North Jersey majors including Chris Vergano of Wayne and Paul Aronsohn of Ridgewood to further work on improving the lack of progress made by such companies as PSE&G, JCP&L and Orange (News - Alert) and Rockland to restore power to the hundreds of thousands of affected North Jersey residents.

Both Vergano and Aronsohn also expressed their concern over the dire need for better power protection efforts, as well as publically criticized the power companies for their shortcomings in preparation and response to Sandy.

“He [O’Toole] personally assisted the township in finding fuel supplies to keep the township in business so our Department of Public Works and fire trucks could respond to residents during the storm,” Wyckoff Mayor Chris DePhillips said. “He also worked hand-in-hand with me to apply strong pressure on both PSE&G and Orange & Rockland to get the necessary restoration crews into Wyckoff.”

According to O’Toole, the RPPA “will help utility companies in restoring power and clearing roadways with the relief that the critical need facilities are operating.” Additionally, the act would require the state’s Board of Public Utilities to develop and enforce performance benchmarks for power companies as way to keep them up to par, as well as would increase the civil penalties they would need to pay for violating rules enforced by the BPU (going from $100/day to $25,000 for each violation up to $2 million), Wayne Patch adds.

This certainly does seem like a harsh but needed start to better strengthening the condition of power protection as a whole.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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