State Representative Laura Hoydick (R-120), Ranking Member of the legislature's Energy and Technology Committee today joined Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) Deputy Commissioner William P. Shea and other state and local officials at the West Hartford Town Hall for a ceremonial bill signing of An Act Enhancing Emergency Preparedness and Response.
The new public act, which was cosponsored by Representative Hoydick, will improve the ability of utility companies to prepare and respond to natural disasters and other emergencies which cause widespread power outages.
It will also improve the ability of the state and local communities to mobilize and respond during such events.
"The October Nor'easter and Tropical Storm Irene a month before it certainly exposed some significant shortcomings concerning local and state response capabilities and utility company planning and communication efforts," said Rep. Hoydick.
"This session I was determined to work with my colleagues on the Energy and Technology Committee, and representatives from the Governor's office, to develop sweeping bipartisan reform which would bring significant improvements in these areas, and I am pleased that we were successful in doing that."
The provisions of Public Act 12-148 include:
- Establishing improved standards for utility, telecommunications and cable companies during emergency events and creating penalties for non-compliance;
- Requiring these companies to submit plans for emergency restoration of service;
- Creating a microgrid pilot program administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection;
- Creating a feasibility study on requiring backup power for telecommunications towers and antennas;
- Encouraging the coordination of underground infrastructure projects; and
- Requiring the development of procedures to expedite the process of road-clearing following an emergency.
In addition, the legislation improves civil preparedness and training requirements by requiring private utility companies to comply with the state’s civil preparedness planning and training when directed to by the Commissioner of DESPP.
Statewide emergency preparedness drills will be conducted from July 28-29 and July 30-31, at which time communications, road clearing and power restoration protocols will be evaluated.