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Chivukula Welcomes Christie to Utility Outage Discussion

Lawmaker Already Sponsoring Reform Legislation

(TRENTON) — Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Chairman Upendra Chivukula on Wednesday welcomed Gov. Chris Christie’s interest in holding utility companies accountable for restoring service after outages. Chivukula noted the governor’s plan is similar to legislation he’s already introduced.

“Extended service outages have long plagued New Jersey consumers, and I’m pleased to see Gov. Christie and his administration join us in this discussion,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex). “I look forward to reviewing what Gov. Christie has proposed and seeing how it fits with legislation I have already sponsored and determining what’s best for consumers. Hopefully everyone is willing to work together to reach a positive result that protects consumers.”

Chivukula in May introduced legislation (A-2760) requiring the Board of Public Utilities to establish uniform statewide reliability standards for electric and gas public utilities and electric power suppliers and allowing for fines for violations of the board’s standards.

“Reliable electricity and natural gas utility service is essential to the health, welfare and safety of New Jerseyans and necessary to serve our economy, but there is a need for more discussion among appropriate state government agencies, regional entities and electric and gas public utilities about how to work together in order to ensure electric and gas service reliability,” Chivukula said. “The adoption of uniform statewide standards of acceptable performance in the areas of service reliability and restoration of service by electric and gas public utilities doing business in the state will help minimize health and safety problems occurring due to utility service hazards or disruptions. This has been a long-standing problem and I’m glad to see Gov. Christie willing to help solve it.”