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September 5, 2012

Re: BPU Issues Report and Recommendations to Prevent Inordinate Utility Service Disruptions Due to Natural Disasters

Dear Mayor:

Last year, with the Halloween snow storm following Hurricane Irene, New Jersey twice suffered the wrath of nature. Citizens turned to their local leaders for information and for help in dealing with vital utility service disruptions. Deficiencies in utility preparation for and response to these emergencies led Mayors to unite in efforts to ensure better planning for future extreme weather events. In response, Governor Christie asked the Board of Public Utilities to conduct an in-depth review and to report back with concrete recommendations.

Today, in Trenton, the Governor released that report.

The BPU report highlights the need for substantive improvements in the areas of:

Vegetation Management;  Use of the Incident Command System (ICS);  Improved Communications through websites and social media regarding Estimated Time of Restoration; Mutual Aid; and Substation Flooding.

The report also noted the need for:

Increased Training and Exercise Drills; and
Benchmarking and External Analysis.

We commend the BPU, which invited input from the League and our member Mayors in developing this blueprint. We look forward to assisting in the implementation of the recommendations contained, therein.

The League’s Emergency Management and Preparedness Committee, chaired by Hope Mayor Timothy McDonough, will be meeting shortly with the BPU and utility representatives to discuss further the report and its implications for municipalities.

In addition, there will be a public comment period on all of the recommendations following a September 12th Special Board Meeting for the BPU.  The meeting notice is online at: http://nj.gov/bpu/pdf/announcements/2012/20120905.pdf
Comments will be due to the BPU by September 20. 

You can access the Report at:    http://www.nj.gov/bpu/pdf/announcements/2012/stormreport2011.pdf

And if you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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