TRENTON – A Senate committee today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Raymond J. Lesniak to authorize electric or gas utility companies to discontinue service and remove their equipment from abandoned buildings.
“This bill will improve safety for families living near abandoned buildings whose running utility meters could lead to explosive situations,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union. “Lives are in jeopardy when attempts are made to steal electricity or to connect gas lines illegally from abandoned buildings.”
Under Senator Lesniak’s bill, S-1402/A-803, an electric or gas utility would be authorized to enter an abandoned building in the company of a law enforcement officer, discontinue service and remove all of the utility equipment.
“Innocent lives could be lost for no reason because of gas explosions or electrical fires from faulty wiring if thieves enter abandoned buildings to steal power from abanoned buildings,” he said. PSE&G estimates there are about 5,000 abandoned properties in New Jersey with working meters. The measure was approved without opposition from the Senate Economic Growth Committee, chaired by Senator Lesniak, and now awaits action before the full Senate.