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Stack, Cunningham Bill to Require Notice of Utility Outages to Customers Advances

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TRENTON – The Senate Economic Growth Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Brian Stack and Sandra Cunningham that would require public utility providers to inform customers of outage information when an outage lasts more than an hour through phone call, text message, and email.

Senator Stack (D-Hudson) remarked, “The public is too often left in the dark by utility providers when an outage occurs, with little to no information as to when service will return or how widespread the outage is. Families depend upon the reliability of utilities, and deserve as much information as can be provided on an outage to know how it will impact their lives. Not informing the public adds needless worry and stress that could be easily avoided with proper notice.”

The bill, S-192, would require public utilities to develop and implement a plan to inform the public of service outages through an autodialed phone call, text message, and/or email using their customer’s contact information. The notice would include the location and estimated length of the outage, contact information for the utility and emergency services, information on how to report any other service problem related to the outage, and provide any relevant updates as the effort to address the outage progresses. State and local governments would additionally be allowed to disseminate information made available by the utilities through their own alert services.

The bill was advanced in a 4-0 vote.