Cryan & DeAngelo Bill to Better Protect Energy Infrastructure from Tree Damage Advanced by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Joseph Cryan and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to better protect energy infrastructure from tree damage during storms was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3654) authorizes electric public utilities to use all available methods to conduct vegetation management to prevent future power disruptions. Under the bill, neither the Community Forestry Council nor any shade tree commission can interfere with or restrict an electric public utility’s ability to conduct vegetation management work.
“This would allow utilities to develop plans to protect the electric distribution infrastructure from damage caused by trees, shrubs or the like,” said Cryan (D-Union). “We can’t do everything to prevent storm damage, of course, but we can do what’s smart to protect our energy infrastructure. Making sure our trees and shrubs are properly maintained around energy infrastructure is quite simply common sense.”
“Sometimes storm damage is unfortunately unavoidable, but we saw many instances with Sandy in which a single tree branch too close to a power line caused headaches for consumers for days and even weeks,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We can and should do better. This bill is sensible.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.