Seeking a solution to power outages caused by flooded electrical substations, Assembly Republicans Dave Rible and Caroline Casagrande have introduced a plan to require utilities to flood-proof their infrastructure before they increase rates. “While nature is unpredictable, it doesn’t take an advanced engineering degree to figure out what will happen to an electrical substation located on the banks of the Shark River just a few feet above tide levels,” Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, said. “Many of us were frustrated without power for nearly two weeks because utilities did not have a plan to protect their equipment from flooding. We are going to hold them accountable and make them have a plan in place to protect against flooding.” The legislation would require utilities – under approval of the state Board of Public Utilities – to implement plans to protect any machinery, equipment or facility with flood-proof design regulations. Utilities would be barred from rate increases until they were in compliance. “Power lines and water do not mix and neither do high electricity rates and long power outages,” Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth, said. “Flood-proofing electric infrastructure is just common sense that is long-overdue. Assemblyman Rible and I know how difficult it is to be without power for several days, especially with children and seniors in the home. There are several substations in my district that regularly flood and it’s obvious that this legislation is necessary because JCP&L will not voluntarily commit the resources necessary to maintain a power infrastructure that adequately serves our area.” The legislation was prompted by the flooding of several substations in Rible and Casagrande’s districts, most notably the Glendola substation on the banks of the Shark River in Neptune Township, which affected Neptune in Casagrande’s district and Wall where Rible lives and represents. The legislation will also be sponsored by Sen. Robert W. Singer, R-Ocean and Monmouth, and Assemblyman Sean T. Kean, R-Monmouth and Ocean. ####
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