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NJ Lawmakers Want To Improve Storm Response By Utilities

(A utility worker shuts off a gas main at a Long Beach Island home after Hurricane Sandy.  File photo by Mark Wilson/ Getty Images)

(A utility worker shuts off a gas main at a Long Beach Island home after Hurricane Sandy. File photo by Mark Wilson/ Getty Images)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey legislators today were dealing with several measures aimed at improving the state’s response when the next major weather event strikes.

An Assembly committee today heard from the Board of Public Utilities, which recently adopted a 100-point plan of attack for utilities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Most of the recommendations deal with keeping officials and the public informed when outages occur.

“We can spend any amount of money and we will never, ever prevent all the outages,” Kristie Izzo, the BPU secretary, told the lawmakers.  “But the board wants to make sure that we are doing as much as we can to minimize the outages and minimize their duration.”

Some North Jersey communities were left in the dark for two weeks after Sandy, although that was seen as a slight improvement over previous storms.

Izzo also said her agency was working hard to keep those affected informed.

“We’re also requiring the utilities to use different kinds of media — like social media sites, press releases, e-mails, texts, a variety of different things, because different customers respond to different forms of communication,” she said.

But several members of the committee questioned how most of those options will work if people lack the electricity to access them.

Utilities are also working on efforts to keep their infrastructure clear of trees, which traditionally cause problems when storms occur.

READ: Hurricane Sandy Coverage

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