The US representatives in New Jersey have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Saving More American Resources Today (SMART) Grid Study Act of 2013.

The legislation will examine steps that can be taken right away to prevent the damages caused by disasters and mitigate the excessive costs that consistently accrue on the backend of a disaster.

The act authorizes a $2.1m comprehensive study by the National Research Council in full cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and other government agencies.

It will also authorize a comprehensive assessment of actions necessary to expand and strengthen the capabilities of the electrical power system to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from a natural disaster or cyber attacks.

The act will assess the options for improving the Nation’s ability to expand and strengthen the capabilities of the Nation’s power grid.

It will support the study of the grid’s ability to adapt to the changing patterns of demand for electricity, the ability of the grid to store and transfer power across energy sectors and geographic regions, and the ability of the grid to recover from disruptions such as natural disasters and cyber attacks.

Congressmen Donald M. Payne, the original author of the bill and Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, said, "We know that natural disasters can wreak havoc on our power systems, as we saw many people in my district were without power for nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy. "

"There has also been a significant increase in cyber attacks from outside actors to our critical infrastructure. These disasters, whether man-made or by Mother Nature, are a drain on our economy and make us vulnerable to potentially more devastating attacks. Clearly, our electric grid needs an upgrade" Payne added.