ASSEMBLY TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND UTILITIES COMMITTEE
ASSEMBLY, No. 3619
with committee amendments
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
DATED: NOVEMBER 18, 2013
The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 3619 with committee amendments.
As amended and reported, this bill requires each electric, water, and gas public utility, telecommunications company, and cable television company (service provider), to annually submit a request in written form to each customer to obtain alternate modes of communication not associated with the customer’s account, at which the service provider may communicate with the customer in the case of a service interruption or emergency. “Emergency” is defined to mean: (1) any circumstance in which a service provider experiences a service interruption, or is in immediate danger of experiencing a service interruption, caused by a person or a natural disaster, which includes, but is not limited to, fire, flood, earthquake, or storm; or (2) the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the Governor or the President of the United States. “Service interruption” is defined to mean a disruption of a service provider’s service to 20 percent or more of the service provider’s customers in which the service provider deems the restoration of service may take 12 or more hours to complete.
The bill requires that each public utility, telecommunications, and cable customer be contacted by the respective service provider via the telephone number and email address associated with the account, and the alternate modes of communication provided by the customer. The alternate modes of communication include: (1) an alternate telephone number, such as a wireless telephone number or landline telephone number; (2) an email address; and (3) any other reasonable mode of communication the customer may provide.
The committee amended the bill to change the definition of “emergency” to eliminate service interruptions caused by the elements and to include service interruptions caused by persons or natural disasters, including, but not limited to, fires, floods, earthquakes, or storms. The committee amendments also expand the definition of “service interruption” to mean an extended disruption of service to 20 percent or more of a service provider’s customers in which the service provider deems restoration may take 12 or more hours to complete and add a definition of “cable television company.” Finally, the committee amended the bill to make technical changes to the definition of “public utility” and to change certain punctuation.