The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will hold public hearings around the state as it reviews the response of utility companies to recent nor'easters.
A state lawmaker wants to require that power providers be better prepared for future storms.
Senator Shirley Turner says her bill would establish standards for every utility in the state on emergency preparation and restoration of service after a major power outage.
"I think we have to have it in place because we've seen we can't rely on the power companies to provide this service and they're not accountable like they should be because they're only interested in making money."
The legislation calls for utility companies to file an emergency response plan with the Board of Public Utilities. The plan would include procedures for deploying crews and the supplies and equipment that might be needed to restore service. It would also provide an explanation of the utility's system of communications with customers during emergencies.
"If they don't have to, I guess they don't. And I think they just feel they have to run and provide all the resources to the highly populated areas. And those people who are in the rural areas and the lower populated areas they're left in the dark."
If the legislation is enacted, utility companies failing to provide an emergency preparation and service restoration plan could be fined $10,000 per violation each day up to a million dollars.