TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips submitted testimony to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities and the Homeland Security Committees Wednesday as part of the legislative hearings examining the response of utility companies after massive power outages during Tropical Storm Isaias.
“Hurricane Irene; the 2011 Halloween Snow Storm; Hurricane Sandy; the March 2018 storms; and now Tropical Storm Isaias – it’s the same old story, different storm,” wrote DePhillips (R-Bergen). “If you listen to the utilities, you would believe that living without electricity and water for seven to 10 days or more is the norm, not the exception.”
DePhillips said that the response of power companies has not changed since Hurricane Sandy, and that the Board of Public Utilities response also has not changed.
“It’s like watching the same horror movie over and over again,” said DePhillips in his written testimony. ““Isaias was like all the other storms. We knew it was coming, but the utilities were not prepared and did not have emergency crews online and ready to restore power until days after the storm did its damage.”
He suggested lawmakers consider a bill he sponsors (A108) that gives municipalities the right to revoke a utility’s franchise if it cannot provide continuous, safe, and reliable service. The bill unanimously passed the Telecommunications Committee in October 2018.
“Let’s give towns the tools to pick another utility or co-op if their current utility cannot get the job done,” said DePhillips. “As I said before, this is America. We should have competition in the utility industry, not a monopoly.”
For a copy of his full testimony Click Here.