With electricity finally restored to most New Jersey homes and businesses after super-storm Sandy-related blackouts that stretched up to two weeks, a trio of lawmakers is launching a campaign to minimize future outages.

State Senator Ray Lesniak and Assembly members Joe Cryan and Annette Quijano have unveiled, “Never Again.” The effort is to secure the power supply and minimize future blackouts in the face of frequent severe weather.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

“Our power generating and delivery system was built a hundred years ago and is not capable of withstanding the all too frequent severe weather we’ve been hit with in the past two years,” says Lesniak. “We must fortify our power generating and transmission locations, protect power lines from disruption and utilize available technology that will be able to transfer power from other generating locations and notify electric utility companies when and where power outages occur and notify residents of when they can expect their electricity to come back on.

The lawmakers are calling on New Jersey's utilities to conduct a needs assessment and evaluation to: Make substations and transfer stations storm-proof by fortifying, raising above any possible flood levels, or moving to higher ground;  Prepare a tree pruning and removal program to substantially decrease the possibility of power line disruption; Install smart meters which will alert power companies when and where power is lost and notify residents when they can expect restoration of service and; Require redundancy systems to redirect power when generating stations go down.

Cryan says, “Routine maintenance of trees and power lines must be regularly done. Vulnerable substations must be fortified. Power companies need to take advantage of technology so they know where, exactly, the problems were. We can’t stop blackouts from happening, but we can take steps to make sure they don’t cripple the state.”

“Making sure our power supply is secure isn’t about providing creature comforts, it’s about protecting the lives of our families and neighbors,” explains Quijano. “It’s about protecting our schools and our downtown businesses. This is the third time in little more than a year that Mother Nature has sent New Jersey into a multi-day blackout. Now is the time for us to all work together to make this the last one.”