Scribner Supports House Republican Call For Emergency Preparedness Special Session

Scribner Supports House Republican Call For Emergency Preparedness Special Session

 

 

The following was sent by State Rep. David Scriber–

HARTFORD –  State Rep. David Scribner of Brookfield and Bethel today fully supports House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. calling for a special emergency preparedness and energy session in December to pass legislation requiring  additional utility work crews, minimum staffing levels and other initiatives he says will shorten future  electrical blackouts.

Rep. Scribner said, “There’s an immediate need for major legislative reforms on Connecticut emergency prepareness so future storms do not cripple the state like Storm Irene and Alfred have in the last two months.”

The successful bipartisan jobs special legislative session on Oct. 26 showed Democrats and Republicans can work together. Cafero it is time to take action again to minimize the chances for another utility crisis caused by a major storm and not wait for the winter season to set in.

“Knowing that the legislature will not be in regular session until February, we should come back in special session by December to pass legislation that will bolster our state’s response to natural disasters and shorten the time anyone is without power,’’ Cafero said. “We just demonstrated we could do that quickly with the jobs package we passed, and we need to take action now on emergency preparedness initiatives.’’

Cafero called upon the Democrats and or the governor to set a special session date immediately. Cafero said some of the ideas could include:

Requiring utilities to train and maintain emergency “stand-by crews’’ made up of first responder personnel, retired utility workers as well as local responders such as firefighters. The number of responders would be registered with PURA.

Require Mutual Aid agreements to specify strict timelines with other utilities and states. The agreements would have to spell out how soon other states must respond to emergencies here and the level of staffing that will be provided, as well as length of service, depending on the severity of the storm.

Increase the use of fuel cells in Connecticut to provide more electricity that is “off the grid.’’ 

A major criticism of the utilities has been the lack of manpower used to clear debris and restore power. Cafero said the focus of legislation he would support would be in creating greater staffing capacity. 

Cafero said the proposal this week by Democrats to establish bench marks for power restoration by PURA and impose significant fines on utilities if they clearly fail to meet restoration goals should also be considered in the special session.

“The legislature can and must act now before the storm season really sets in to mitigate the possibility for another crisis this winter. We have been hit with two major storms within two months, so the need to act is pretty clear,’’ Cafero said.

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Posted on November 9, 2011, in Home. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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