ASSEMBLY, No. 3654

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JANUARY 8, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  JOSEPH CRYAN

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requiring electric public utilities and municipal and county shade tree commissions to meet annually concerning vegetation management; requires commissions to implement vegetation management plans.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning vegetation management related to electric utility infrastructure and supplementing Title 40 and Title 48 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  A shade tree commission organized under R.S.40:37-1 et seq. shall annually consult with each electric public utility having distribution infrastructure within the borders of the county for which it was created, for the purpose of developing a plan concerning vegetation management within the county.  The plan shall, at a minimum, require vegetation management on any vegetation that is close enough to any distribution infrastructure to pose a threat to the distribution system or to have the potential to pose a threat to the distribution system during periods of disaster.

     b.    Each shade tree commission shall be responsible for implementation of any plan developed pursuant to subsection a. of this section and shall coordinate, as necessary, with each electric public utility responsible for maintenance of areas within the electric public utility right-of-way located within the county.

     c.     There shall be appropriated and paid annually to each shade tree commission, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities, an amount equal to the amount of annual expense associated with implementation of the plan required pursuant to subsection a. of this section, including, but not limited to, any meetings between the shade tree commission and each electric public utility having distribution infrastructure within the borders of the county for which the commission was created.  Payments shall be made by the State Treasurer, upon certificate of the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and warrant of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting, on or before December 31 of each calendar year.

     d.    For the purposes of this section:

     “Disaster” means a natural or humanly caused occurrence arising, including but not limited to, a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, flood, heat wave, snowstorm, or ice storm, which results in:  (1) a sustained interruption of electric public utility service to at least five percent of the customers in an operating area or at least five percent of the utility’s customers within a municipality or county located in an operating area; or (2) the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the State or by the federal government.

     "Electric public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that transmits and distributes electricity to end users within this State;

     “Operating area" means a geographical subdivision of each public utility’s service territory.

     “Service interruption" means the cessation of electric utility service by one or more customers.

     "Vegetation" means trees and other plants; and

     "Vegetation management" means the removal of vegetation or the prevention of vegetative growth, to maintain safe conditions around distribution infrastructure and ensure reliable electric service. Vegetation management consists of biological, chemical, cultural, manual, and mechanical methods to control vegetation in order to prevent hazards caused by the encroachment of vegetation on distribution infrastructure.

 

     2.    a  A shade tree commission organized under R.S.40:64-1 et seq. or a park commission, organized under R.S.40:64-6, as appropriate, shall annually consult with each electric public utility having distribution infrastructure within the borders of the municipality for which such commission was created, for the purpose of developing a plan concerning vegetation management within the municipality.  The plan shall, at a minimum, require vegetation management on any vegetation that is close enough to any distribution infrastructure to pose a threat to the distribution system or to have the potential to pose a threat to the distribution system during periods of disaster.

     b.    Each shade tree commission, or park commission, as appropriate, shall be responsible for implementation of any plan developed pursuant to subsection a. of this section and shall coordinate, as necessary, with each electric public utility responsible for maintenance of areas within the electric public utility right-of-way located within the municipality.

     c.     There shall be appropriated and paid annually to each shade tree commission, or park commission, as appropriate, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities, an amount equal to the amount of annual expense associated with the implementation of the plan required pursuant to subsection a. of this section, including, but not limited to, any meetings between the shade tree commission, or park commission, as appropriate, and each electric public utility having distribution infrastructure within the borders of the municipality for which the commission was created.  Payments shall be made by the State Treasurer, upon certificate of the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and warrant of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting, on or before December 31 of each calendar year.

     d.    For the purposes of this section:

     “Disaster” means a natural or humanly caused occurrence arising, including but not limited to, a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, flood, heat wave, snowstorm, or ice storm, which results in:  (1) a sustained interruption of electric public utility service to at least five percent of the customers in an operating area or at least five percent of the utility’s customers within a municipality or county located in an operating area; or (2) the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the State or by the federal government.

     "Electric public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that transmits and distributes electricity to end users within this State;

     “Operating area" means a geographical subdivision of each public utility’s service territory.

     “Service interruption" means the cessation of electric utility service by one or more customers.

     "Vegetation" means trees and other plants; and

     "Vegetation management" means the removal of vegetation or the prevention of vegetative growth, to maintain safe conditions around distribution infrastructure and ensure reliable electric service. Vegetation management consists of biological, chemical, cultural, manual, and mechanical methods to control vegetation in order to prevent hazards caused by the encroachment of vegetation on distribution infrastructure.

 

     3.    Each electric public utility shall establish a schedule to reasonably accommodate the request of each municipal shade tree, park commission, or county shade tree commission within its service territory, as appropriate for consultation pursuant to sections 1 and 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires each county and municipal shade tree commission, or park commission serving as a municipality’s shade tree commission, as appropriate, to consult annually with each electric public utility having distribution infrastructure within the municipality or county served by the commission.  The commissions would consult with the utilities for the purpose of developing plans concerning vegetation management regarding the electric distribution infrastructure of the utility located within the municipality or county.  For each commission, the plan would, at a minimum, require the performance of vegetation management on any vegetation that is close enough to any distribution infrastructure to pose a threat to the distribution system or to have the potential to pose a threat to the distribution system during periods of  disaster.

     A shade tree commission would be eligible for State aid for expenses related to the implementation of vegetation management plans and costs associated with the annual meetings.